Turkey: Erdogan threatens to give up on EU adhesion

'Better go with Shanghai Cooperation Organization,' Erdogan says

28 January, 19:13

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, JANUARY 28 - If the EU can't make up its mind then Turkey will seriously consider seeking membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan told local media recently.

Now the 16th world economy, Turkey opened accession talks with the EU in 2005, but progress has been slow due to its Cyprus dispute and opposition to Turkey's membership from some member countries.

''The EU would like to forget about us, but it can't decide.

Instead of wasting our time, they should tell us what they really think, so we can get on with our business,'' Today's Zaman newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.

''When things turn out to be so disappointing and you're the prime minister of 75 million people, inevitably you look for another way. That's why I told (Russian Premier Vladimir) Putin: if we get into the SCO, we will say goodbye to the European Union.'' A mutual-security organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, SCO is light years from EU-level integration. But the fact that Erdogan suggested it as an alternative to the EU is a sign that ''he has begun to seriously contemplate an alternative'', said analyst Yavuz Baidar.

Popular opinion seems to be swinging away from the EU, and the Islamist populist premier, who has been ruling unchallenged for the past ten years of Turkey's economic boom, could be wise to follow in its wake: according to the latest survey by foreign policy think tank EDAM, 40% of respondents think Turkey doesn't need the EU, 33.3% believe Turkey should join, and 19.7% think Turkey should have a ''different relationship'' with Europe. In 2008, 68% of Turks agreed their country should join the EU.

''At the bottom of their hearts, Turks really want to rule the world,'' said Galatasaray University Professor Ahmet Insel.

''An imperial attitude is still living, 90 years after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.'' (ANSAmed).

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