08:41 GMT25 February 2021
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    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that Turkey doesn't need EU membership anymore, but still, the country 'will not be the side which gives up' during the accession talks.

    During his speech to the Parliament, Erdogan reportedly underlined the country will not unilaterally abandon the stalled EU accession talks.

    "We will not be the side which gives up. To tell the truth, we don't need EU membership anymore," Erdogan said.     

    In September, German chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would seek an end to Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union. By that time, the accession talks had ground to a virtual halt and the EU leaders had stepped up their criticism of Erdogan.

    "The only way for the European Union to implement new initiatives lies through Turkey's full membership. [Turkey] is ready to support such initiatives and contribute to Europe's future. However, if the European Union chooses another way, it is not a problem. Turkey will not lose anything and will continue following its own path," Erdogan said at the opening of the fall session of the parliament.

    The president added that Turkey had not been in need of membership in the bloc anymore, but it would not unilaterally withdraw from the accession talks. Erdogan noted that EU policy was bound to Turkey, but Brussels was not supporting Ankara in the fight against terrorism.

    "EU states are the first among the nations, whose support disappointed us the most. Turkey is very concerned about condoning terrorism by those who explicitly oppose Turkey's membership in the European Union," Erdogan said.

    Earlier in the month, Omer Celik, Turkey's Minister of European Union Affairs and the Chief Negotiator for Turkish Accession to the European Union, accused the European Commission of "using the EU negotiating process as a way to blackmail Turkey," which he called a "weakening and discrediting [of] the EU institutions."

    In September, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Turkey's membership of the European Union was out of the question for the foreseeable future. He pointed out that Turkey was rapidly pulling away from the European Union, adding that Europe was still willing to cooperate with Ankara, but only based on European values.

    In May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Europe for discrimination, cultural racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia, adding that these tendencies resulted in the deterioration of relations between Ankara and Brussels.

    accession talks, European Union, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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