Turkey’s future is to be decided by the people after the president suggested an EU referendum
In a televised speech on Sunday, Erdogan said it was up to the Turkish people to decide if they wanted their country to become an EU member.In the speech, the Turkish president said: ”Let’s wait until the end of the year and then go to the people.
“Let’s go to the people since they will make the final call.”Even Britain went to the people. Britain said, ‘let’s exit’ and they left.”
Our patience has its limits. If need be, we could also consult our people
The ruthless Ankara leader went on to accuse Brussels of pressing Turkish officials to give up their bid for EU membership, after starting formal accession talks more than a decade ago.
He said: “The European Union is pressing us to withdraw from our [accession] process.
Erdogan travelled to Belarus at the weekend to meet the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko
“If they don’t want us, they should make a decision and speak clearly about it”.He added: ”Our patience has its limits. If need be, we could also consult our people.
“Let’s see what the people will say.”
Turkey and the EU have developed good working relations in recent years as they try to collaborate to tackle the migrant crisis in Europe, sealing a historic deal in March 2016 to benefit both sides.Ankara agreed to help the EU to deal with the unprecedented numbers of migrants coming to Europe in exchange for substantial financial assistance from the EU, as well as the possibility of EU accession and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens travelling within the Schengen zone.
Turkey-EU relations looked to be improving after working together during the migrant crisis
Visa-free travel was originally supposed to be rolled out in July but has so far been postponed, with the EU claiming that Turkey has not yet complied with all of the bloc’s 72 criteria.The Turkish leader’s latest comments could spell the end of the country’s desire to join the European bloc.
Following the country’s failed military coup in July, Erdogan’s harsh crackdowns on officials and journalists have been condemned by the EU, leaving the Brussels-Turkey deal on the brink of collapse.