Brussels ‘messing about’ on Turkey’s bid to join EU, insists Erdogan

On the first anniversary of the failed military coup, the president stepped up his attack on the European Union

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A defiant President Tayyip Erdogan today stepped up his attack on the European Union, insisting would have to go its own way and accusing Brussels of “messing about” with Turkey’s decades-long bid to join the union.

Erdogan was speaking at the opening ceremony for a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in the failed coup last year.

"The stance of the European Union is clear to see... 54 years have passed and they are still messing us about," he said, citing what he said was Brussels' failure to keep promises on everything from a visa deal to aid for Syrian migrants.

"We will sort things out for ourselves, there's no other option."

Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs and more than 50,000 detained on suspicion of links to the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for the coup. The EU, along with several other Western states had expressed their concern at the developments.

During his speech, Erdogan insisted he would have no problem bringing the death penalty back to Turkey, if parliament were to approve it.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU remained committed to dialogue with Turkey and called on Ankara to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

"One year after the attempted coup, Europe's hand remains outstretched," Juncker wrote in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"If Turkey were to introduce the death penalty, the Turkish government would finally slam the door to EU membership."

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