Turkey could hold a referendum on whether or not it should continue its long-stalled accession process to join the European Union, Turkish President Erdoğan has suggested.
Offended by the EU’s treatment of Turkey, he said that Turkey could hold a referendum in a similar fashion to the UK which today, is voting whether or not to remain in the EU.
“We can stand up and ask the people just like the British are doing,” Erdoğan said in a speech late June 22 at a fast-breaking dinner, quoted by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We would ask, ‘Should we continue the negotiations with the European Union or should we end them?’ If the people say ‘continue,’ then we would carry on,” Erdoğan said.
He accused the EU of prejudice by not wanting to accept Turkey as a member as it is a “Muslim-majority country.”
Erdoğan said Turkey had been promised membership in 1963 but that despite the passing of 53 years, nothing had happened. “Why are you stalling?” he asked.
Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement for the first time in 1963, asserting that Turkey would aim to become a member of the bloc.
After applying in 1987, Turkey began EU accession talks in 2005, but its membership bid has been held up by an array of problems, particularly Turkey’s slide toward authoritarianism.
With the question of Turkey’s possible membership being raised in the British referendum, Ankara has been angered by comments from London suggesting that it has no realistic chance of joining the bloc in the medium term.
During the campaign, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Turkish membership was not “remotely on the cards” and may not happen until the year 3000.