ANKARA (Sputnik) — On Saturday, President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said that Turkey's position on a number of internal issues, such as debates on capital punishment and the arrests of journalists, was unacceptable, but expressed hope that the situation would change, and affirming Brussels "would not shut the door for Turkey."
"The EU should open the chapters. If they do not do it, then goodbye," Erdogan said in an address to lawmakers on behalf of Turkey's ruling party.
Noting that Turkey "is not a slave that waits at the door," the newly restored member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) stressed that "we can sit down and talk if the chapters are opened."
"Otherwise, there is nothing to talk about," he said.
In March 2016, Turkey and the European Union agreed on a deal under which Ankara pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in EU states through its territory in exchange for the accommodation of Syrian refugees on a one-for-one basis in Turkey and major concessions on membership and visas. In August 2016, Erdogan warned that Ankara would withdraw from the deal if the European Union failed to grant a visa waiver for Turkish citizens.
In November 2016, the European Parliament voted to suspend talks on Turkey’s bid for EU membership due to a crackdown on those suspected of having ties to the organizers of the July 2016 failed coup in Turkey. The bloc decided to freeze EU accession talks with Ankara as a result.
EU officials have repeatedly expressed concern over the state of human rights in Turkey and its political situation after last year's failed coup attempt, when thousands of people, including journalists and activists, were arrested, and over suggestions made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reinstate the death penalty. The April 16 referendum in Turkey on constitutional reforms, which expanded the powers of the president, also triggered dismay from within the bloc.
The association agreement between Turkey and the then-European Community was signed in 1963, to be followed by Turkey's submission of a membership application in 1987. Talks on Ankara's EU membership began in 2005 but have been repeatedly suspended due to various obstacles, including the failed coup attempt.