Turkey says it would reject any deal with EU other than full membership

Association agreement dismissed by country’s government

Jon Stone
Europe Correspondent
Friday 19 January 2018 17:53
Comments

Turkey’s government has said it would reject any deal for a closer partnership with the European Union that did not involve becoming a full member.

Omer Celik, the country’s minister for EU affairs, said in an interview on Friday that he did not take proposals for a “privileged partnership” seriously and that “such an offer will not even be considered”.

Turkey has been an official EU candidate state since 1999 and has had a limited customs union with the EU since 1995 – but full membership of the EU now appears more unlikely than ever.

The process has now been effectively suspended, with EU institutions citing the growing authoritarianism of Turkey’s government. A number of heads of government, including Angela Merkel, have also said they would block Turkey’s accession to the union.

The EU sometimes establishes looser partnerships of “association” arrangements with countries such as Ukraine, without making them full members. The aim of the agreements is to bring the countries’ economies closer to that of the EU without granting full membership.

But speaking to Reuters, Mr Celik dismissed any suggestion of Turkey signing up to such an agreement: “A privileged partnership or similar approaches, we don’t take any of these seriously. Turkey cannot be offered such a thing.

“Whatever it would be called, a privileged partnership or cooperation against terrorism, such an offer will not even be considered by Turkey.”

Mr Celik added that the EU was not honouring all parts of a deal it had signed with Turkey for €3bn (£2.6bn) in financial aid in return for Turkey stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

He claimed the financial aid was “not working well” and noted that no new chapters had been opened in Turkey’s EU accession efforts, and that there had been no development on expanding a Turkish-EU customs deal.

“Technically there’s no reason for Turkey to maintain this deal,” he said.

The migration deal included the lifting of short-term visa requirements imposed on Turks by the EU, but the implementation of this policy has been waylaid by disagreement over anti-terror laws introduced by the Erdogan government, which Europe says are too broad.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in