President Erdogan marks Europe Day

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday marked Europe Day, saying that the European Union was bound to remain an incomplete project without Turkey in it as a full member.

Europe Day, also known as the Schuman Day, is observed on May 9 each year to mark the Schuman Declaration in 1950 that proposed the formation of a European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor to the European Union.

Erdogan, in a written statement, said though the EU has become "a model for political integration", it is destined to remain incomplete until taking Turkey as a full-fledged member.

"As global uncertainties increase each day in today's world, the EU is facing serious challenges on global values such as human rights, the rule of law, democracy, equality, and justice, values on which it claims to have been built upon," Erdogan said.

He stressed the biggest threat to the future of the union was posed by Europe itself. Erdogan also drew attention to the widespread of discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia throughout the continent.

"Turkey's full membership aside from its economic, political and social contributions, will offer the greatest opportunity to the union in its fight against these threats."

Erdogan reaffirmed country's determination in EU membership process.

Turkey applied for EU membership in 1987 while accession talks began in 2005.

However, negotiations stalled in 2007 due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration in the divided island of Cyprus, as well as opposition from Germany and France.

To gain membership, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations on 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

As of May 2016, a total of 16 chapters had been opened and one concluded. However, in December 2016, the member states said no new chapters would be opened.

Source: Anadolu Agency