Erdogan says Turkey could hold referendum on EU membership bid, slams criticisms
YASIN BULBUL (AFP)
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Turkey could hold a referendum on its long-stalled EU membership bid after Turks voted to approve expanding his powers in a plebiscite.
"For 54 years, what did they make us do at the EU's door? Wait!" Erdogan told supporters outside the presidential palace in Ankara, referring to Turkey's long-standing membership bid.
He hit back at threats by EU leaders to freeze accession talks, adding: "We will sit down and talk, and we can hold a referendum for that (EU bid) too!"
Erdogan added such a vote would be like that in the UK where last year, Britons voted to leave the bloc in a similarly close result.
He repeated the refrain he used often in speeches during the referendum campaign that it did not matter what the EU thought.
"What George, Hans or Helga say does not interest us," he said, using typical European names. "What counts for us is what Ayse, Murat, Mehmet, Hatice says. What Allah (God) says!" he added, using Islamic-rooted Turkish names.
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said earlier Monday that Brussels should end talks after the results of Sunday's referendum in which 'Yes' won by 51.41 percent.
"With what happened yesterday, (Turkey's) membership prospects are buried, in practical terms," Kern said.
Erdogan repeated in his speech that he would approve the death penalty if a bill was submitted to him, adding there could be a referendum on capital punishment as well if necessary.
The EU has been quick to warn Turkey any return of the death penalty would mean the immediate end of its membership bid.
Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 as part of its bid to join the bloc.
Erdogan tells OSCE to 'know your place' after vote criticism
Also on Monday, Erdogan told international monitors to "know your place" after they suggested the landmark referendum fell short of international standards.
"Know your place first," Erdogan told the monitors in an address to supporters outside his vast presidential palace in Ankara.
"We neither see, hear, nor know those politically motivated reports that you will draft," he said after the report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) monitors.
"We will continue down our road," he said. "This country held the most democratic elections that have never been seen in any other country in the West."
The president also warned the international monitors "not to join a race of casting shadows over the elections", adding: "You cannot achieve any result."
"The referendum took place on an unlevel playing field and the two sides of the campaign did not have equal opportunities," said Cezar Florin Preda of PACE.
The group's preliminary conclusions were also blasted by the Turkish foreign ministry as "biased" and "prejudiced."
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how can the EU even be considering turkey as a member? this terrorist supporting dictator should be banned from the EU. end the talks already. turkey should be thrown out of NATO and never considered for EU membership.