Turkish leader says nation 'forced to crawl' by EU
Posted May 18
ISTANBUL — Turkey has been "made to crawl" at the gates of the European Union, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.
"Are we supposed to keep begging and ask them to let us in?" he said in a speech to business leaders in Istanbul.
Turkey has been seeking EU membership for 54 years, while countries that applied later or are economically unstable have been accepted.
Erdogan criticized the increasing number of chapters needed for accession negotiations.
"What were we supposed to do against such a decision that is specific to Turkey and is so treacherously anti-Turkey?" he said.
"If European Union officials continue their just and positive attitude towards us, we can continue. But if they cease to, then we'll take care of ourselves," he said.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey won't beg Germany to stay at its Incirlik air base, while Berlin asked for U.S. help in defusing the spat.
Germany has some 270 troops stationed at Incirlik with Tornado reconnaissance jets and a refueling plane as part of the international coalition against the Islamic State group. However, it is considering relocating them to Jordan or another country after Turkey again refused to allow German lawmakers to visit the troops at Incirlik.
The German government says Turkey indicated the refusal was tied to German authorities' decision to grant asylum to Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of participating in last year's failed coup.
Cavusoglu told private NTV television that Turkey opened Incirlik to Germany as part of the anti-IS coalition, and "if they want to leave, that's up to them and we won't beg."
During a visit to Washington on Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel asked for U.S. "support" in talks with Turkey on the Incirlik standoff.
German military missions abroad need parliamentary approval, typically on an annual basis, and German leaders say it's essential for lawmakers to be granted access to troops serving abroad.