09:26 GMT +316 July 2019
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    Flags of Turkey, right, and the European Union are seen in front of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

    Personal Enmity and Bias: EU Uses Talks With Turkey to 'Its Own Advantage'

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    In an interview with Sputnik, Turkish MP Zehra Taşkesenlioğlu of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) criticized European Commissioner Guenther Oettinger for saying that Turkey is unlikely to join the European Union while Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained in power. These comments, she said, reflect personal enmity and the EU's bias.

    Taşkesenlioğlu maintained that Brussels was never intent on inviting Turkey to join the bloc despite the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Ankara that were launched in the 1960s.

    "Sadly, Brussels has never viewed Turkey as a real candidate for EU accession," the MP said. "The EU used the talks to uphold a convenient balance in relations with Turkey." The negotiations are "a means that the EU employs to understand how it can use relations with Turkey to its own advantage," she added.

    Turkey has been an associate member of the EU that was then known as the European Economic Community since 1963. The country made a formal application to join the EEC in 1987 and was officially recognized as a candidate for full membership in 1999. Formal negotiations ware launched in 2005.

    Earlier this week, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger said that Turkey is not likely to become an EU member while President Erdogan is in office. He further said that it will not happen for some time after the Turkish strongman is gone. "Given the current conditions, accession is not realistic until well into the next decade," Oettinger told the Bild.

    Oettinger's remarks show that Brussels is biased when it comes to Turkey.

    "Although Turkey has met all conditions set out by the European Union to lift visa restrictions, the issue has been stalled due to Brussels demanding that Ankara change its anti-terrorism laws. Taking into account that our country is facing terrorism daily and has been forced to wage a fight against terrorism on several fronts, we cannot change the definition of the term 'terrorism.' Terrorism poses a universal threat. It is dangerous everywhere, be it Turkey, Belgium or France," she said.

    Taşkesenlioğlu is convinced that there is more to these comments than Brussel's implicit stance on the issue.

    "Oettinger's remarks are pure and simple personal enmity to the Turkish leader. Regrettably, a hostile attitude and personal enmities affect and sometimes determine the politics of some countries and organizations," she observed.

    Taşkesenlioğlu further said that the EU must make a final decision whether it wants to see Turkey as a member or not.

    The politician also said that if Guenther Oettinger is unable to develop a balanced approach on Turkey, then Ankara will 'refrain from holding negotiations until he is replaced by a politician who will have no personal enmity, who will be guided by objective criteria and will not introduce his personal attitudes into work."

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    Tags:
    EU membership, negotiations, terrorism, bilateral relations, accession talks, European Union, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Guenther Oettinger, Europe, Turkey
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