Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking angrily to lawmakers ahead of a constituent session of parliament, said Ankara “no longer expects anything from the European Union, which has kept us waiting at its door for 40 years.”
Erdogan said in an anguished speech that Ankara had “fulfilled all the promises we made to the European Union, but it [the EU] has hardly fulfilled any of its promises”.
The Turkish president emphasized that he “will not accept any new demands or conditions in the process of joining the bloc.” Ankara, a member of the US-led NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Western military bloc, is seeking membership in the European Union [EU]. In a written statement on Europe Day in May, Erdogan asked European lawmakers to focus on the common denominator and core values between Brussels and Ankara, rather than discuss mere differences in the accession application.
Turkey’s full membership is a requirement for the bloc’s future, President Erdogan said, stressing that it was “for both sides of the world” to ignore the clash of interests. Accession negotiations between the EU and Turkey began in 2005. However, the process reached an impasse, despite Ankara remaining a key economic and defense partner for the EU.
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Last week, an angry Erdogan said he had ended his country’s bid to join the 27-nation bloc. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Ankara’s conviction of a teacher linked to the failed 2016 coup for allegedly downloading an encrypted messaging app linked to the alleged plotters. The EU ruling said Ankara had violated Yuksel Yalcinkaya’s rights and that it could set a significant precedent, with thousands of other similar cases pending before the Strasbourg-based court.
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Turkish President Erdogan has named US-based Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher Fethullah Gülen as responsible for an attempt to overthrow Erdogan in 2016. The US has sought the scholar’s extradition for years. The Turkish government says a messaging app called ByLock was used to coordinate the plot.
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Turkey has sentenced hundreds of thousands of people for alleged links to the outlawed Gülen group, but many have maintained their innocence. The EU cited “procedural flaws” in the trial of Yalcinkaya, who was detained by Turkish security forces in 2016 and convicted in 2017. The EU ruled against Turkey, saying “there was a violation of the right to a fair trial, no punishment without law and freedom of association.” considering Yalcinkay’s case.
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In its decision, the ECtHR said: “Anyone who used ByLock could in principle be convicted [in Turkey] on this basis alone of being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”
Erdogan responded harshly, saying that “thugs who threaten the peace and security of citizens have not achieved their goals and will never achieve them.” The EU has accused Ankara of violating a number of its court rulings. Yilmaz Tunc, Turkey’s justice minister, criticized the European Union in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “It is unacceptable for the ECHR to overstep its authority and rule on a violation by examining the evidence in a case for which our judicial authorities at all levels they consider the evidence sufficient.” Ankara argues that the ECHR is not a court of cassation and therefore has no jurisdiction to evaluate evidence related to a state’s domestic law.
“Although the ECtHR has repeatedly stated in its jurisprudence that it does not have the authority to evaluate evidence, it has resorted to evaluating evidence when it comes to the FETO trial,” Tunc claimed on X, using the derogatory acronym for the Gulen movement.
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