Bahçeli echoes Erdoğan on Brexit-like referendum

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Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has followed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other senior government officials in slamming European Parliament President Martin Schulz over his suggestion of economic sanctions against Turkey, declaring his party’s support for a Brexit-like referendum on the negotiation process of Turkey’s EU membership.
 “We will certainly not buckle under the EU’s systematic intimidations. The people have the word, any decision it will give if asked will be the final decision, and it’s binding for everyone,” Bahçeli said Nov. 15 in an address to his party group in parliament.

His comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blasted Schulz, saying Turkey might appeal to the public to decide on the future of Turkey’s EU membership.

“You say ‘we will stop the accession talks.’ Well, you are already too late. Make your decision immediately. I as the president have said we will be patient until the end of the year. Then we will go to a public [vote]. If the final decision is to be made by the nation, let’s ask the people,” he said Nov. 14.

Schulz, in an interview with Germany’s Bild on Nov. 13, said the EU “should consider what economic sanctions we can take” in response to Ankara’s post-coup crackdown, including the arrest of journalists and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) co-leaders and lawmakers.

“If Turkey brings back the death penalty, its accession negotiations will end,” Schulz said, adding that he was in favor of the continuation of the talks.

The MHP leader criticized European countries and institutions for backing terrorist organizations, especially the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). “Europe’s hindering of our counter-terrorism process instead of supporting it is the clearest evidence of how our adventure of accession to the EU is deadlocked,” he said.

Bahçeli was also very harsh against the ambassadors of EU countries for attending the parliamentary group meeting of the HDP on Nov. 8 in a bid to give support to the party after its lawmakers were arrested on terror links.

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