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Turkey still aims for ‘full membership’ of EU: Erdogan

(AFP) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday insisted that Turkey still aims to become a full member of the European Union, hours ahead of a crunch summit with the bloc’s chiefs aimed at restoring damaged ties.

“EU membership continues to be our strategic target,” Erdogan said at Istanbul airport before heading to Bulgaria for talks with European Union President Donald Tusk and European Commission chief, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The summit comes as doubts mount over the viability of Turkey’s bid to join the EU, which has lasted over half a century, but is now meeting with opposition from some European governments.

“We will absolutely not allow some circles — whose intentions and goals we know inside and out — to block Turkey from being a respectable, equal and deserving full EU member.”

Erdogan expressed hope the meeting in the Bulgarian resort of Varna would re-energize the Turkish accession bid and remove obstacles in its path.

But he also accused the EU of showing “double standards” and again charged the bloc had failed to help Turkey enough with the 3.5 million Syrian refugees the country is hosting.

“We are going to remind them (Tusk and Juncker) once more than Turkey will not tolerate hypocrisy,” Erdogan said.

“Unfortunately, the EU has not shown, and is not showing, the same sincerity and loyalty we have shown when it comes to fulfilling its obligations.”

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