TIME Turkey

Turkey’s Erdogan Might Seek Public Vote on Joining the EU

Turkish President Erdogan in Belarus
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a joint press conference with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (not seen) after their meeting at the Independence Palace in Minsk, Belarus on November 11, 2016.

"Let's wait in patience until the end of the year and then go to the people"

BRUSSELS (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday suggested holding a referendum on the future of his country’s bid to join the European Union. Addressing a group of farmers, Erdogan said: “Let’s wait in patience until the end of the year and then go to the people.”

He was responding to reports that the European Parliament’s president said Turkey could face economic sanctions in response to the country’s increased crackdown on opposition voices. Erdogan also accused the EU of not keeping its promises and of supporting the outlawed Kurdish militants.

Turkey and the EU have been locked in a war of words over Ankara’s commitment to democracy and rule of law in the wake of the failed coup in the country in July. EU officials say it’s time for Ankara to say whether it really wants to join, but EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the future of membership wouldn’t be on the table at Monday’s talks in Brussels.

European Union foreign ministers are trying to reach a common stance on Turkey over the government crackdown on political opponents and the media. Mogherini said she and the ministers would strive Monday for “a common, united position on developments in Turkey.”

 

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