By Gunay Hasanova
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan did not rule out a possibility of holding a referendum on Turkey joining EU to ask Turkish population whether they need EU.
The president made the remark on the board of presidential plane to journalists accompanying him.
"The European Union is trying to compel us to withdraw from this (accession) process. If they don't want us they should be clear about this, they should make a decision," Erdogan told the Hurriyet newspaper.
"Our patience is not endless. If need be, later, we could also consult our people," he said, alluding to the UK's Brexit referendum in June.
Ankara's bid to join the EU dates back to the 1960s with formal talks starting in 2005. But the process has been mired in problems, which current tensions have done nothing to help.
Turkey has a long waited for its EU membership, while each application to accede to the European Union was frustrating for the government. Turkey, holding a status of an associate member at the Economic Community -- the predecessor of the EU since 1963 -- made an official application for entry on April 14, 1987.
The European Commission has proposed in May that the European Parliament and EU Council will lift visa restrictions for citizens of Turkey if Ankara fulfills the remaining conditions for abolishing visa entries until the end of June.
The list of pre-conditions included measures to prevent corruption, negotiations on an operational agreement with Europol (the EU police office), providing judicial cooperation with all EU member states, as well as the revision of the legislation on the fight against terrorism.
However, since the July 15 coup attempt, relations between Ankara and Brussels have fallen to a low as Turkish politicians lament the EU’s muted response to the attempted takeover and EU leaders criticize Turkey over widespread arrests and job suspensions in its wake.
Gunay Hasanova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @gunhasanova
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