Author : Hurriyet Dailynews
Posted : November 23, 2016
The European Parliament should regard Turkey as a country integrated with the West, despite President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rhetoric, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said, ahead of a key Nov. 24 vote on suspending Ankara’s EU accession bid.
“Europe should understand that Turkey is bigger than one. Turkey is bigger than Erdoğan,” CHP spokeswomen Selin Sayek Böke said after her party’s executive board meeting.
“Turkey is a country integrated with the West. It is a country that is more developed than the West on some issues. We hope the EU will make its decision by taking this fact into consideration,” Böke added.
Her comments came after the president said the European Parliament’s decision on the future of accession talks will have “no effect” on Turkey.
“Whatever the result, this vote has no value for us,” Erdoğan said.
Warning about the possible consequences of freezing accession talks, Böke said they hope the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is cautious about possible outcomes.
“We hope the ruling party in Turkey has studied all the decisions to be made,” she said.
“What will you do if an economic embargo is imposed? What will you say if the customs union is lifted? How will you protect workers? Are you prepared for this?” Böke added.
She also noted that Turkey’s economy cannot thrive if it aims to become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), also known as the “Shanghai 5,” which Erdoğan has suggested as an alternative to EU membership.
“Our economy is integrated with the European Union. Our total import rate from the European Union is 48 percent. We are exporting to the EU half of the goods we have produced here,” she said.
“If we turn our back on Europe to face the Shanghai 5, to which we export just 21 percent, we will struggle to produce,” Böke said.