French President Macron says not possible for political developments

Having faced with failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resumed his campaign to join European Union.  He told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday that Ankara is “tired” of its sluggish EU membership process for 54 years.

While addressing a joint press conference with Macron in Paris, Erdogan said, “We cannot continuously ask the EU, ‘please take us, too’ now.” He accused the bloc of leaving Turkey “waiting outside the door” for decades.

Responding to Erdogan’s  comments, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested a “partnership” instead of a full EU membership for Turkey saying that the political developments in that country were blocking its accession bid.

He said, “For relations with the European Union, it is clear that recent developments and choices allow no progress in the process. I’d be lying if I said we could open new chapters.”

Turkey had applied for EU membership in 1987. It became eligible in 1997 while accession talks began in 2005. However, in the recent years the related negotiations have been frozen.

Erdogan said, “When we ask for the reason, the EU cannot tell us. And, at first they were preventing us via 15 [EU policy] chapters; later the number of the chapters regarding us was increased to 35.”

Ankara had alleged US based Fethullah Gulen for masterminding the failed coup attempt against his government in 2016. Large number of people and organisations with suspected Gulen connection were arrested and purged.

EU member states have condemned the Turkish government’s arrests and purges of tens of thousands of people.Several rights groups have accused Turkish government of using the coup-bid as a pretext to silence opposition.

Erdogan clarified his country’s position by saying, “Turkey is ruled by law. Europe always tells us that judiciary must be independent. Well, in Turkey, our judiciary is independent. They make their own decisions independently.”

Macron responded saying, “democracy must be strong against terrorism because the legitimacy of the state means it must protect its citizens. But at the same time our democracies must respect the rule of law”.

This was Erdogan’s visit to France since July 2016 coup attempt, and one of few ones to Europe. He faced several protesters who attempted to block his arrival to President’s Elysee Palace.