Turkey won’t chase EU access for ever: says Davutoglu

Turkey could abandon its goal to join the EU if the union keeps blocking entry, said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday.

“If the EU clears our way [for membership], we would welcome it, as the EU [membership] is our strategic goal. But if it does not, they will go their own way and we will go ours,” Davutoglu told a meeting of the local branch of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the western province of Manisa. “We will see which direction everyone will go.”

In January, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Turkey could abandon its EU membership goal and join the Russian-Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) instead if Ankara is invited to do so. Erdogan cited frustration with the stalemate in the EU accession bid as the reason the government is considering such alternatives.

Negotiations between Turkey and the EU have been uphill since they began in 2005. The opposition by some countries to Turkey’s accession and the Cyprus problem have been cited as the main stumbling blocks.

Davutoglu said Turkey has been going through a period of “cell renewal,” as a result of which no major international issue can be discussed without Turkey being taken into consideration. “We are the heirs of a world state,” he said, referring to the Ottoman Empire. “Future generations, if not ours, will be the citizens of a world state,” he added.

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