ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that a European Parliament vote set to back a freeze of membership talks with Ankara over its relentless post-coup crackdown would have “no value.”
This week’s non-binding vote threatens to escalate tensions between the European Union and Turkey, which reached new heights in the wake of the July 15 failed putsch.
But EU member states, with the exception of Austria, are so far all in favor of keeping the talks on track despite alarm over the extent of the crackdown that has seen almost 37,000 under arrest.
“I want to say in advance from here and address the whole world watching on their TV screens—this vote has no value at all, no matter what result emerges,” Erdogan told a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.
“It is not possible for me to even digest the message that they want to deliver,” he said.
The European Parliament’s main groups said Tuesday they will vote to freeze membership talks with Turkey because of the crackdown.
Turkey and the EU had agreed to speed up membership talks after both sides reached a deal in March to curb migrant flows towards the European Union.
But the process has stalled after the failed bid by a rogue group in the army to bring down the Turkish government.
The mass arrests and job dismissals as well as measures against Turkish media in the ensuing crackdown triggered a sharp reaction from EU politicians and rights watchdogs.
Erdogan however remained defiant, saying on Wednesday that: “Those hands raised up and down (in the parliament vote) will not interrupt this country’s fight for its independence and future.”
He said the vote was an indicator of the fact that the EU took the side of “terror organizations.” AFP