International22: 45 04.10.2018 (updated 22:47 04.10.2018) Short URLThe Turkish President has accused the EU to delay the entry procedure of Turkey before threatening to hold a referendum on it. Turkey could hold a referendum on its accession to the European Union to take a final decision on this subject without waiting for the EU speaks, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday at a forum in Istanbul.
"As long as it happens at the end, so that we can understand where to go. They drag the case length. Countries that can not even be compared to Turkey have already become members of the EU […]. If we follow this logic, all we have to do is ask our 81 million inhabitants for their opinion on the EU, "said Erdogan.
The Turkish President called on Brussels to clarify its position on Turkey's entry into the European Union.
"If you do not accept us, say it and follow your path and we will follow ours," he added.
Turkey signed an Association Agreement with the EEC in 1963. It applied for EC membership in 1987. But negotiations between the EU and Ankara, which started only in October 2005, have been suspended several times due to disputes between the parties. 16 of the 35 negotiating chapters are open to date, the most recent (opened in June 2016) on financial and budgetary provisions.
Relations between Turkey and the EU have deteriorated after the abortive coup in Turkey in July 2016. The EU has criticized the mass arrests and other measures taken by Ankara after the coup attempt, and opposed the opening of new negotiating chapters.