Erdogan in Warsaw tells EU: Stop leading us by the nose

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit to Poland [EPA-EFE/BARTLOMIEJ ZBOROWSKI]

Polish President Andrzej Duda said after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday (17 October) that he backed Turkey’s aspirations for joining the European Union.

Erdoğan, who was on a visit to Warsaw, called on Brussels to make clear declarations whether or not the EU wants Turkey to join the community.

Poland is the first EU member state to host the Turkish leader after the unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey last July.

Duda: Poland supports Turkish EU membership

Duda expressed hopes that the paths of Turkey and the EU “will continue to strive in the same direction”, which in the end will lead to “a full membership in the EU”. “Poland has continued to support Turkey’s efforts to join the European Union, as Turkey has had these aspirations for many years now,” he said.

As the president said, Poland backs Turkey’s European aspirations because the country “has been running for this membership for a long time” [the first official request was issued in 1963] and it is “a crucial partner of the European Union when it comes to European security”.

“I don’t think it needs to be explained to anyone what important role Turkey plays today when it comes to its geopolitical location or its potential – both economically and militarily,” Duda told reporters.

Both presidents agreed that Ukraine has to restore its territorial integrity and Russian aggression on Ukraine must come to an end. Duda added that he also counts on Turkey when it comes to strengthening the Eastern flank of NATO.

Erdoğan: “Stop leading us by the nose”

The Turkish president complained that Turkey’s accession process “has been pending since 1963”.

“I would honestly like to hear a clear declaration: let us not delude each other, stop leading us by the nose,” he appealed. “If you want to take Turkey into the European Union, just tell us, do it. When you do not want it, tell us,” he added.

Turkey in the fight against the migration crisis

The Polish president thanked Erdoğan for Turkey’s commitments towards the EU in the efforts to contain the migrant crisis. Erdoğan highlighted that his country is currently dealing with more than 3 million refugees, whose maintenance has so far cost €6m.

Meanwhile, he said, the European side still has not lived up to its financial promises of the EU-Turkey deal on refugees. The EU had committed itself to turning over €6bn and – as the Turkish president emphasised – Ankara has so far received only €800,000.

Arrivals surge on Greek islands despite EU-Turkey deal

With Turkey being one of the items on the agenda of the EU summit starting on Thursday (19 October), AFP is reporting that migrants are still coming to Greek islands despite the EU-Turkey deal to stem the arrival of refugees from Turkish territory.

“The EU’s commitments towards the Turkish nation should be realised and I have the hope that this will happen,” the Polish president said. “Because for Europe, the European Union and for Poland as well this matter is very important,” he added.

Opponents of the Turkish president’s visit to Poland rallied in front of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw, to protest against Erdoğan’s policy. The ‘Tutoring from the Dictatorship’ demonstration was organised by Inicjatywa Polska, Partia Razem and the Greens. The protesters demanded that Erdoğan respect human rights.