08:41 GMT +320 February 2018
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    Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. (File)

    Turkish Prime Minister Rejects Legal Force of EU Resolution on Accession Talks

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    The European Parliament resolution calling to suspend negotiations on Turkey's accession to the bloc has no legal force for Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) —  "This decision has no legal force for us. There is nothing surprising, such decisions were made earlier… The European Union should at first have a look at itself before criticizing Turkey, since the PKK [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, outlawed in Turkey], FETO [Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation] are allowed and are operating there," Yildirim told reporters.

    Yildirim stressed that Turkey always had a choice "which path to follow," while security of the European Union "begins with Turkey."

    On April 16, the referendum on expansion of the president’s powers took place in Turkey with over 51 percent of voters supporting the proposed amendments that expanded presidential powers over the legislature and the judiciary.

    On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Turkey, urging the EU member states and the EU Commission to immediately suspend talks on Turkey's accession to the bloc in case if Ankara refuses to amend the constitutional reform expanding the powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The resolution, which is of a non-binding nature, was approved with 477 votes for and 64 against.

    The European Commission shares the European Parliament’s concerns over Turkey’s constitutional reform stipulated by April's referendum and enshrined in the latest EU resolution, a source within the Commission told Sputnik on Thursday.

    "The Commission takes good note of the European Parliament's vote. We share many of the concerns expressed by the Honourable Members of Parliament and have repeatedly conveyed these over the past months," the source said.

    The EU Commission stills acts according to the April statement of EU Foreign Ministers, which points to the necessity to keep all channels of communications with Ankara open, the source added.

    "The EU should continue to express its concerns where appropriate in an open and constructive manner. The EU expects Turkey to observe the highest standards in respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights, in line with Turkey's international commitments and status as a [EU] candidate country," the source noted.

    Commenting on the European Parliament's move, Turkey’s Minister of European Union Affairs Omer Celik called the resolution one-sided and politically biased.

    In June, the EU Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee called on the EU Commission to halt the talks on Turkey's accession to the bloc, stating that the constitutional reform package was "not in line with EU membership criteria."

    Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in 1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's membership of the European Union began in 2005, but the negotiations have been repeatedly suspended over the years due to various obstacles.

    Related:

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    European Parliament Adopts Resolution Urging EU to Halt Turkey Admission Talks
    Tags:
    accession negotiations, FETO, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Binali Yildirim, EU, Turkey
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