Poland supports Turkey’s EU bid, says President Duda


Polish President Andrzej Duda (right) shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a meeting on October 17, 2017 at the presidential palace in Warsaw | Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

‘If you want to accept us in the Union, just say that. If you don’t want us, say that too,’ Erdoğan tells the EU.

WARSAW — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on his first visit to an EU country since last year’s failed military coup and subsequent crackdown, received support for Ankara’s bid to join the bloc from his Polish host, President Andrzej Duda, on Tuesday.

Poland, which is itself something of a pariah in the bloc because of a dispute with the European Commission over alleged breaches of democratic standards, took the opposite line to fellow EU leaders on the status of accession talks. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has made it clear Turkey’s bid is unrealistic, as has Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Duda, on the other hand, told a news conference after his talks with Erdoğan that Poland “has supported and is supporting the accession of Turkey to the European Union.”

“I hope that the Turkish path as well as that of the EU will always go in the same direction and that at the end there will be a full membership of Turkey in the European Union,” Duda said.

Such sentiments could be partly designed to compensate for tough comments in recent years from leaders of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), including Duda, against taking in Muslim refugees from the Middle East, alleging that Islam is the enemy of the Catholic faith.

Erdoğan, who referred to Duda as “my friend,” said he would like to hear an equally clear declaration on Turkey’s EU accession from Brussels. According to the Polish translation, he said: “Simply stop deceiving us. If you want to accept us in the Union, just say that. If you don’t want us, say that too.”

The Turkish president took a different line when speaking to his country’s parliament earlier this month. “We do not need membership in the European Union anymore,” he told Turkish lawmakers, adding that EU officials were “not honest people.”

In the news conference, Duda did not mention Erdoğan’s crackdown on the opposition, but said the two men “had an honest talk about the internal situation in Turkey after last year’s military coup attempt.”

Although he has met EU leaders in other countries, Erdoğan has not been invited to any EU member since the attempted coup of June 15, 2016. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is the only EU leader to have visited Ankara since then, paying a visit to Erdoğan last June.

Source: Politico

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