Erdoğan says strategic blindness marring EU ties, Turkey can fill Brexit void

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country’s relationship with the European Union had been held to ransom by “strategic blindness” on the part of some EU member states.

Rather than resolve problems bilaterally, some European governments had sought to use the pretext of solidarity among EU members to abuse the Turkish-EU relationship, Erdoğan told ambassadors from EU nations in the capital Ankara on Tuesday.

“We call this strategic blindness,” Erdoğan said, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency. “We see the most concrete example of this phenomenon in the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus, where we have suffered serious injustice.”

Despite problems with Europe, Turkey has not given up its ambition of becoming a full EU member, he said.

Talks between Turkey and Greece to resolve a dispute over maritime borders, due to start this month, will signify a new period in their bilateral ties, helping relations with the rest of Europe, Erdoğan said.

Britain’s departure from the European Union on Jan. 1 had left a void that Turkey could fill, he said.

“We believe that full Turkish membership of the EU will strengthen the EU and also the struggle against global racism,” Erdoğan said.

“Uncertainty created by Brexit can only dissipate with Turkey taking its rightful place in the European family.”