Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, lambasted the European Union on October 1 over what he sees as European inaction preventing his country from joining the bloc.
Addressing the reopening of the Turkish Parliament on Sunday, which coincided with a terrorist attack in the capital Ankara, Erdoğan spoke about relations with the EU.
He said his country “no longer expects anything from the European Union, which has kept us waiting at its door for 40 years”, referring to the accession process.
“We have kept all the promises we have made to the EU, but they have kept almost none of theirs,” he said. Erdoğan added that he would not “tolerate any new demands or conditions on the accession process” for his country to join the bloc.
His comments follow a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on September 28, which found against Ankara for convicting a teacher accused of involvement in the 2016 attempted coup. That was because the lecturer had downloaded an encrypted messaging app associated with the alleged coup plotters, Turkey said.
The ECHR argued that its verdict could potentially have implications for the thousands of other Turkish individuals who were imprisoned in connection with the failed coup attempt in 2016.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled that the former teacher Yuksel Yalcinkay’s rights were violated in three instances: Article 6 (no punishment without law), Article 7 (right to a fair trial) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association).
Turkish authorities are deeply upset by what they see as external interference in this matter. The country attributes the failed attempt to remove Erdoğan to a group led by the US-based Turkish-Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Erdoğan said that the “decision of the ECHR was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
Previously, Turkish Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç rejected the ECHR’s ruling, stating: “It is unacceptable for the ECHR to exceed its jurisdiction and pass a judgment of violation by scrutinising the evidence in a case where our judicial authorities at all levels have found the evidence to be sufficient.”