EU leaders should focus on Europe, says Turkish Dep. PM

Numan Kurtulmus says UK, Germany and France should refrain from setting targets for Turkey

EU leaders should focus on Europe, says Turkish Dep. PM

World Bulletin / News Desk

The United Kingdom, together with Germany and France, should be discussing the future of the EU instead of setting targets for Turkey’s membership, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Tuesday.

“The prime minister [David Cameron] should talk about the future of the EU in the coming 30 years rather than identifying the year 3000 for Turkey [to join the bloc]. Where will the European Union be after 30 years? They should talk on this first,” Kurtulmus said during an interview on Turkish television.

Cameron stated in a May 22 U.K. television interview that it would be the “year 3000” before Turkey would be able to join the 28-country bloc as a full member.

Voters across the U.K. go to the polls to decide on the future of their country’s EU membership on Thursday.

Opinion polls over the weekend showed a slight swing back to the Remain camp after the Leave campaign took the lead early last week.

‘Leave’ campaigners have repeatedly used Turkey's EU accession process to instill fear among voters that such a move would supposedly invite millions of migrants into the bloc, especially to the U.K.

Kurtulmus cautioned Europe against developing politics on the refugee crisis and Turkey.

He stressed that Turkey has been “sincere, open and clear,” in its relations with the European Union, adding that Ankara had done its part in readmission agreements and visa liberation deals for Turkish citizens. 

“Europe should fulfill its part as well,” Kurtulmus said.

The EU and Turkey signed a refugee deal on March 18, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.

Although Turkey fulfilled most of the criteria last month, differences between Brussels and Ankara on anti-terror legislation have forestalled the visa-liberalization deal.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Haziran 2016, 09:34