EU will lose Turkey if it hasn't joined by 2023: Erdogan

BERLIN Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:36pm EDT

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attends the opening session of the 28th session of the COMCEC in Istanbul October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attends the opening session of the 28th session of the COMCEC in Istanbul October 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Murad Sezer

Related Topics

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union will lose Turkey if it doesn't grant it membership by 2023, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

It was the first time Erdogan has given an indication of how long Ankara might continue down the path towards EU entry, and his comments came at a time of growing alienation between Turkey and a political entity it feels has cold-shouldered it.

Turkey's bid to join the EU, officially launched in 2005, has virtually ground to a halt in recent years due to opposition from core EU members and the failure to find a solution to the dispute over the divided island of Cyprus.

Asked during a panel discussion in Berlin on Tuesday night if Turkey would be an EU member by 2023, Erdogan answered, "they probably won't string us along that long. But if they do string us along until then the European Union will lose out, and at the very least they will lose Turkey."

Turkey will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its foundation as a republic from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire in 2023.

The predominantly Muslim but secular country of some 74 million people would strengthen the European Union, Erdogan said. Some 6 million Turks already live within the European Union, about 3 million of them in Germany, he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Erdogan will meet on Wednesday, opposes full EU membership and favors a privileged partnership instead, although foreign minister Guido Westerwelle supports Ankara's bid.

Speaking at the opening of Turkey's new embassy building in Berlin, Westerwelle criticized the impasse in accession talks. "It is bad for both sides and next year, we want to make a new beginning to overcome this standstill."

Earlier this month Turkey's economy minister Zafer Caglayan scoffed at the EU's winning the Nobel Peace Prize and condemned the bloc as the most hypocritical organization in the world, saying it had "kept Turkey waiting at its door for 50 years."

Turkey has completed only one of 35 policy "chapters" every accession candidate must conclude. All but 13 policy chapters in Ankara's negotiations are blocked and the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, says Turkey does not yet meet required standards on human rights and freedom of speech.

(Writing by Alexandra Hudson; editing by Jason Webb)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (5)
EthicsIntl wrote:
Turkey – During WW2
“If one defines a successful foreign policy as the pursuit of national interest, then President Inönü‘s conduct of Turkish diplomacy during World War 2 must be judged a triumph. Resisting pressures for an alliance by both the Allies and the Axis, Inönü guided his country along a cautious path of friendly neutrality until the outcome of the war was decided.” William L. Cleveland

13 October 1939: After the treaty between USSR and Germany was signed (23 August 1939), President Inönü singed a treaty with France and Great Britain and obtained financial help.
25 March 1941: Turkey signed a treaty with the USSR which guaranteed that the USSR would not attack Turkey.
June 1941: A few days before Germany declared war on the USSR, Turkey signed a treaty with Germany which guaranteed that Germany would not attack Turkey.
23 February 1945: Turkey declared war on Germany, and later on Japan, three months before the armistice.
24 October 1945: Turkey entered the United Nations.

I always find it amusing when I read previously Neutral Nations declared war on the Axis Powers in the last few months of WW2.
Can anyone elaborate on what pressure was put on Turkey to join either side or what was done conversely to keep them out of the War?
Did Turkey have it’s eyes on Greek Territory, The Middle Eastern Oilfields or was there internal pressure to keep out after their defeat in 1918?

Oct 30, 2012 7:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Hyitor wrote:
EU will loose Turkey if Turkey does not recognize the ARmenian Genocide by 2015

Not a single neighbor of Turkey is on good terms with them, except their puppet Azerbaijan. They have a problem with Greece, Cypress, Syria, Israel, ARmenia, Iraq and now with Iran and Kurdistan. I wonder what would happen to them if USA stops supporting them.

Oct 30, 2012 11:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Ottomann wrote:
The EU should forget about the Turks as they are not a part of Europe. No doubt the Turks will become the Big Brother of the Middle East as they are the richest when it comes to Water and Food Production and perhaps their Military which can stablize on-going Middle Eastern Issues.

Oct 30, 2012 11:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.