Erdogan slams EU over Turkey's accession bid
The Turkish prime minister spoke out against EU opposition towards Turkey’s bid.Ankara -- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that European hostility towards Turkey's EU bid has caused a "serious erosion" in the country's enthusiasm in the accession process.
"Turkey's (reform) efforts have not diminished at all ... But certain attitudes on the EU side have laid the ground for a serious erosion in public enthusiasm and public consensus" on joining the EU, Erdogan told a gathering of the ambassadors of EU countries in Ankara.
"No country will gain anything from making Turkey's membership issue a matter of domestic politics... It must be seen that this will harm Turkish-EU relations in the mid- and long-term," he said.
"The constant questioning of Turkey's status and efforts aimed at changing this status violate existing agreements," he said.
The leaders of EU heavyweights France and Germany have been particularly vocal in their opposition to Turkey's full membership, arguing that the country should be offered a lesser alternative such as "privileged partnership."
Far-right parties in some countries also angered Ankara in European Parliament elections earlier this month, campaigning against the mainly Muslim country's accession as part of a broader agenda to prevent the "Islamisation" of Europe.
Turkey began membership talks in 2005, but it has so far opened negotiations in only 10 of the 35 policy areas that candidates must complete.
The process has been slowed down also by Ankara's refusal to recognise EU member Cyprus and its sluggish pace of reform.
Erdogan said Turkey aimed at opening talks on an 11th chapter by the end of June and two others by the end of the year.
"It is obvious that positive attitudes on the EU side will boost our motivation" on reform, he said.