29 January 2011 /TODAY’S ZAMAN
Turkey's chief negotiator for accession talks with the European Union toughened criticism against the 27-nation bloc on Friday for raising obstacles to an eventual accession, saying the EU could “pull the plug” if this is what it wanted.
“If they come up with a stance against Turkey, that is, if the plug is to be pulled, I leave it to the EU. Do it and then be held accountable for what you have done before history,” Egemen Bağış told reporters after talks with the EU's ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, in Brussels. “The Europe of 20 or 30 years from now will ask those who make such a mistake to account for what they did. I don't believe it is possible for Europe to resolve its problems without Turkey's contributions.” Bağış's remarks signal growing frustration in Ankara with obstacles to Turkish membership. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently wrote in Newsweek that Turkey's accession process was approaching a “turning point” and President Abdullah Gül said this week that EU accession was not crucial to Turkey.