President Gul of Turkey, speaking at a press conference in Ankara yesterday, stated that negotiations with the EU are not progressing as he had hoped because of the prejudice demonstrated by some of the member states.
He said that Turkey is trying very hard to come into line with EU legislation, adding that once Turkey had successfully concluded negotiations with the EU, there would then be a referendum.
Last month, Prime Minister Erdogan had intimated that Turkey might join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)* but then said, in a somewhat mixed message, that joining the SCO was not an alternative to becoming a member of the EU.
However, he felt that Turkey had been “strung along” by the EU, which was “unforgivable and no longer bearable“. President Gul said that Turkey was only in dialogue with the SCO.
PM Erdogan said that the EU process began in 1963 and it was an affront that membership took so long to achieve, particularly when there were millions of Turks living in EU countries.
It has been pointed out by EU officials that because Turkey has the customs union – a partial trading agreement with the EU since 1995; Turkey’s economy has benefited greatly from that agreement.
Turkey exports over 40% of goods to the EU.
* The SCO is an intergovernmental, mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.