: Turkey could hold UK-style referendum on stalled E.U. bid

15:18 Jun. 23, 2016

Turkey could hold UK-style referendum on stalled E.U. bid

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media outside a hospital near an explosion site in Istanbul, June 7, 2016 (AP photo)

Ankara has been angered by comments from London suggesting that it has no realistic chance of joining the bloc in near future

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suggested Turkey could hold a referendum over whether to continue its long-stalled accession process to join the European Union, Hurriyet Daily News reported on June 23.

Angrily lashing out at the bloc's treatment of Ankara, Erdoğan said Turkey could hold a referendum along the lines of that in Britain, where voters are deciding on June 23 whether to stay in the European Union or leave.

"We can stand up and ask the people just like the British are doing," Erdoğan said in a speech late June 22 at a fast-breaking dinner, quoted by the state-run Anadolu Agency.

"We would ask, ‘Should we continue the negotiations with the European Union or should we end them?' If the people say ‘continue,' then we would carry on," Erdoğan said.

He accused the E.U. of not wanting to accept Turkey as a member as it is a "Muslim-majority country."

Erdoğan said Turkey had been promised membership in 1963 but that nothing had happened despite the passage of 53 years. "Why are you stalling?" he asked.

Ankara and Brussels inked an association agreement for the first time in 1963, asserting that Turkey would aim to become a member of the bloc. After applying in 1987, Turkey began E.U. accession talks in 2005 but its membership bid has been held up by an array of problems, particularly Turkey's slide toward authoritarianism.

With the question of Turkey's possible membership being raised in the British referendum, Ankara has been angered by comments from London suggesting that it has no realistic chance of joining the bloc in the medium term. During the campaign, Prime Minister David Cameron said Turkish membership was not "remotely on the cards" and may not happen until the year 3000.

RELATED NEWS

News16:00 Nov. 28, 2016
Suspension mechanism to be dicussed on November 29 - RFE/RL
News12:15 Nov. 25, 2016
Record number of ceasefire violations in Donbas since 2014 - OSCE
News18:40 Nov. 24, 2016
Iraq suicide attack: at least 80 killed
News18:27 Nov. 24, 2016
European Council president speaks Ukrainian at Brussels summit
News11:02 Nov. 24, 2016
Visa free regime for Ukraine, Georgia may be posponed to summer - RFE/RL
Ukraine Today WEEKLY DIGEST
Subscribe to receive regular email updates about Ukraine and Eastern Europe
vk154998