Erdogan warns Turkey's EU bid ‘on table’ after referendum

Supporters listen to Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey's opposition Nationalist Movement Party, who supports President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a referendum rally in Istanbul on Sunday. Turkey is heading to a contentious April 16 referendum on constitutional reforms to expand Erdogan's powers. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Updated 09 April 2017
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Erdogan warns Turkey's EU bid ‘on table’ after referendum

ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Sunday that Turkey’s embattled bid to join the EU will be back “on the table” after next week’s referendum on enhancing his powers, raising new doubts about the future of the membership drive.
In a speech in the Aegean city of Izmir, Erdogan described Europe as a “sick man,” using the jibe that nineteenth century European politicians used to describe the decaying Ottoman Empire.
He once again threatened after the April 16 referendum to sign into law the reinstatement of the death penalty — if it was passed by parliament — a move that would automatically end the European Union membership bid.
“Europe will pay for what they have done. God willing, the question of the European Union will again be on the table after April 16,” said Erdogan.
He said that Turks living in Europe were “oppressed” and “humiliated“: “God willing, our people will bring them (Europe) to account,” he said.
“They said a century ago that we were the ‘sick man’. Now they are the ‘sick man’. Europe is collapsing,” he added, claiming the European economy weakened every year.
The EU is facing the gravest crisis in its six-decade history after last year’s British vote to leave the bloc, while populist and euroskeptic movements have gained ground across the continent.
Erdogan reaffirmed that if a bill on restoring the death penalty — abolished in 2004 as part of the EU bid — was brought to him he would sign it “without hesitation.”
The president has raised hackles in Europe over recent weeks by claiming some EU states were behaving like the Nazis by preventing his ministers from holding pre-election rallies.
While the ‘No’ campaign has struggled to make its voice heard as the ‘Yes’ campaign dominates the airwaves, analysts believe the outcome is still too close to call as the race enters the last week of campaigning.
Sunday marked the last day of expatriate voting in the referendum which is expected to be crucial to the outcome with some three million expatriate voters registered, almost half of them in Germany.
The ‘Yes’ campaign is also backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which on Sunday held a giant rally led by its leader Devlet Bahceli in Istanbul at precisely the same shoreside venue used by Erdogan for a giant meeting the day earlier.


French military to continue fight against Daesh in Levant: Macron

Updated 17 January 2019
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French military to continue fight against Daesh in Levant: Macron

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday the death of four Americans in Syria this week showed that the battle against Daesh militants would continue and he vowed that France would keep its troops in the region this year.
"The announced withdrawal of our American ally should not deflect us from our strategic objective to eradicate Daesh", Macron said in a speech in Toulouse to the armed forces.
Citing the death of 16 people, including four Americans, in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, near the border with Turkey, Macron said the next few months would be decisive.
"We will remain militarily engaged in the Levant in the international coalition (...) over the coming year," he said.