Turkey, EU close to parting ways - far-right Erdoğan ally Bahçeli

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, said on Saturday that Turkey and EU are close to parting ways as evidenced by the bloc’s “clear message’’ of announcing sanctions on Turkey on the third anniversary of a coup attempt, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.

The EU on July 15 announced a series of punitive measures against what it says Turkey’s illegal drilling activities near Cyprus. The date marked the third anniversary of the failed putsch, which Turkey says was organised by the Gülen movement, a religious group Ankara designates a terrorist organisation.

“You should know that the date chosen by the EU is very thought-provoking, clearly intentional, and is in a way full of messages,” Bahçeli, who is an ally of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said in a speech in the Black Sea province of Karabük.

“The EU’s both structure and decision making bodies are sick, severely damaged. Its animosity to Turkey is at a level that cannot be hidden,” the politician said.

Bahçeli called the EU’s measures a “cheap package”, which for Turkey he said represented the hallmark of lawlessness.

“Turkey, EU have reached a crossroad,” Bahçeli said in relation to relations between the bloc and Turkey that were established in 1953.

Turkey and Europe have a customs union since 1995. Turkey was named an official EU candidate country in 1999, and negotiations for full membership started in 2005.