Incoming Turkey PM wants clarity on EU membership

2016-05-22 18:02
Binali Yildirim salutes supporters during party congress in Ankara, Turkey. (Riza Ozel, AP)

Binali Yildirim salutes supporters during party congress in Ankara, Turkey. (Riza Ozel, AP)

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Ankara - Turkey's incoming prime minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday told the European Union it was time to end the "confusion" about Ankara's long-standing membership bid as well as the landmark deal on migrants.

"There is one thing that needs to be done by the European Union. This confusion over Turkey's full membership and the migrant issue has to be brought to an end. It is time for us to know what the EU thinks about Turkey," Yildirim said.

"We have thus far carried out any kind of necessary reforms with determination and will continue to do so to improve democracy and make strides on human rights ... with or without the European Union," he said.

His comments came amid growing frustration in Ankara over the sluggish pace over its membership bid as well as problems in implementing an EU promise to give Turks visa-free travel as part of the controversial refugee deal.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday it would be decades before Turkey could possibly join the EU, suggesting that it might happen in the year 3000 on current progress.

"They applied in 1987. At the current rate of progress, they'd probably get round to joining in about the year 3000," he said.

The prospect of future Turkish accession has become a key battleground in Britain's referendum on its own EU membership.

Read more on:    eu  |  turkey  |  migrants

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