Poland hopes Turkey will join the European Union, Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Tuesday, days ahead of an EU summit which will discuss the frayed relations between Brussels and Ankara.
Poland took the opposite line to fellow EU leaders on the status of accession talks. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has made it clear Turkey’s bid is unrealistic, as has Germany’s Angela Merkel.
The EU, particularly the most heavyweight member (and some would say the one that calls the shots) Germany, has become increasingly critical of Turkey since President Tayyip Erdogan launched large-scale purges of state institutions, the military, the judiciary and academia after a failed coup in July 2016.
“Poland has supported and (also) today supports Turkey’s EU accession efforts,” Duda told a joint news conference with Erdogan during his visit to Warsaw.
“I hope Turkey and the EU will continue on the same path ... leading to a full membership for Turkey.”
President Erdogan and President Duda.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the countries "share similar approaches to regional and international issues." Turkey supported Poland joining NATO while Warsaw has backed Turkey's bid to join the EU.
Within the EU, Poland has traditionally been among the most staunch supporters of enlargement, including Turkey’s accession.
Erdogan, speaking alongside Duda, reiterated his criticism of the EU’s accession policy, saying the bloc should announce the end of talks if it doesn’t mean to accept Turkey. “We won’t bother you any further and you don’t bother us,” he said.
Erdogan, who referred to Duda as “my friend,” said he would like to hear an equally clear declaration on Turkey’s EU accession from Brussels. According to the Polish translation, he said: “Simply stop deceiving us. If you want to accept us in the Union, just say that. If you don’t want us, say that too.”
However, the Turkish president took a different line when speaking to his country’s parliament earlier this month. “We do not need membership in the European Union anymore,” he told Turkish lawmakers, adding that EU officials were “not honest people.”