Turkey has slammed French President Emmanuel Macron over his definition of the current government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as “Islamic and anti-European,” stressing that the European Union will be stronger with Turkey’s participation.
“Statements issued by Macron have shown once again he is far from understanding the realities of Turkey although they have been explained to him repeatedly in almost all platforms,” Hami Aksoy, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Aug. 28.
Macron, in an address to French ambassadors in Paris on Aug. 27, suggested the EU should construct strategic partnership with Turkey without considering its full membership because of the country’s anti-European and Islamic vocation.
“We have left the Cold War behind and President Erdoğan’s Turkey is not President Kemal’s Turkey. These two realities are there and we must draw all the consequences,” Macron also said, referring to Turkey’s founding President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Recalling Turkey had passed from a difficult era in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016 but lifted the state of emergency last month and entered into a normalization process as the presidential governance system started to function, Aksoy suggested Turkey has moved into an era of improvement on the EU reform process.
“Describing our country, which is an inseparable part of Europe from political, geographic and historical perspectives and which has done its share exceedingly for the security of the European continent, as anti-European, does not fit with the reality,” read the statement.
The spokesperson recalled that NATO member Turkey is already the EU’s strategic and privileged partner and holds various cooperation and partnership mechanisms with the EU on many issues varying from anti-terror fight and migration.
“But it is obvious all these cannot be counted as an alternative to Turkey’s accession process with the EU. Stronger thanks to the presidential government system, Turkey, as a democratic and secular country, is determined to proceed on the path to full membership to the EU,” Aksoy said.
Also criticizing Macron for using the term “Islamic terror” in his address, Aksoy underlined that unpredictable and dangerous challenges of this new era after the collapse of the Cold War have further increased the importance of the EU, which includes Turkey.