Erdoğan urges EU to apply same sensitivity to Turkey’s membership bid as Ukraine’s

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the European Union to be more sincere in considering its own bid to join the bloc after it agreed to consider Ukraine’s accession bid, Greek daily Kathimerini reported on Tuesday. 

At a press conference in Ankara, Erdoğan was questioned about his thoughts on Brussels' decision to consider Ukraine as a potential member of the E.U., the Turkish president criticised what he saw as the lack of sincerity among the Europeans in considering Turkey's decade-long bid to join.

“Will you put Turkey on your agenda when someone attacks (us) too?” he asked. 

On Monday, Ukraine’s President Volodomyr Zelensky signed the accession application to join the E.U as his country faced down an invasion from Russia. A day later in an address to the European Parliament, Zelensky told member-states that Ukraine was acting to defend European values by resisting Russian aggression. 

“The European Union is going to be much stronger with us, that's for sure. ... Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will win over death. And light will win over darkness,” Zelensky told the assembled MPs by video link.

Erdoğan made clear that he views Ukraine membership bid “positively” as its ally, but he could not countenance the difference in the bloc’s receptiveness to Kyiv joined before Ankara did. 

“Turkey has been waiting since the 1960s to join the EU and now the debate on Ukraine has begun. We consider Ukraine’s accession efforts positive. But why is Turkey not a member?”

Early in his presidency, Erdoğan won much support at home and within Europe for his reforms that were aimed at getting Turkey a place within the E.U. However, as his rule became more authoritarian Erdoğan became more openly hostile to the bloc and its member-states. 

In particular, Erdoğan’s bid to join has been resisted in the past by several member-states including France and Germany, the two strongest members. Despite its lingering conflicts with neighbouring Greece, Athens has remained supportive of Turkey eventually joining the E.U.

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