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Turkey to reject any option short of full EU membership

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik addresses a joint press conference following the EU-Turkey High Level Political Dialog meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on July 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey would reject any offer of partnership with the European Union that falls short of membership, Ankara's minister for EU affairs said, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its refugee deal with the bloc.

"A privileged partnership or similar approaches, we don't take any of these seriously. Turkey cannot be offered such a thing," Omer Celik told Reuters in an interview.

"Whatever it would be called, a privileged partnership or cooperation against terrorism, such an offer will not even be considered by Turkey," he added.

France's President Emmanuel Macron said two weeks ago that developments in Turkey did not allow for progress in its decades-long push to join the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint press conference with the Turkish president on January 5, 2018, after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. (Photo by AFP)

Macron said discussions should change focus, mentioning the possibility of a partnership that would fall short of full membership.

The EU has expressed concern over Turkey's crackdown on the suspected supporters of a failed 2016 coup.

Around 50,000 people have been arrested pending trial and 150,000, including teachers, journalists and judges, sacked or suspended from work.

Celik said the European Union was not honoring all parts of a deal to stem the flow of refugees westwards from Turkey in return for three billion euros in financial aid to Turkey and other support.

The financial aid was "not working well," no new chapters had been opened in Turkey's EU accession efforts and there had been no development on expanding a Turkish-EU customs deal.

"Technically, there's no reason for Turkey to maintain this deal," Celik said.

(Source: Reuters)


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