TURKEY

Turkey's EU affairs minister Çelik says 'blackmailing' Turkey weakens EU

TURKEYS EU AFFAIRS MINISTER ÇELIK SAYS BLACKMAILING TURKEY WEAKENS EU

Turkey's EU affairs minister has said that some members of the bloc are blackmailing Ankara over its membership negotiations.

"Using the EU negotiating process as a way to blackmail Turkey is weakening and discrediting the EU institutions," Ömer Çelik was quoted as saying by the Financial Times in London.

Speaking to the newspaper on Thursday, Celik said the bloc should give a new momentum to Turkey's EU accession process.

Çelik called for the opening of Chapter 23 on the judiciary and fundamental rights and Chapter 24 on justice, freedom and security, but the EU has given no signal that it will do so.

Although the Turkish minister was criticizing some of the EU members, he exempted the U.K.

Çelik praised London "as a reliable ally after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016," the daily wrote.

"The U.K. is acting as a real ally, a role model, standing with Turkey in the initial days after the coup attempt and helping to strengthen Turkey's defense capacity.

"The British, like ourselves, aim to find a way forward in relations. With other countries, it's not about finding a way forward, it's about finding tools to blackmail us," he was quoted as saying.

The Turkish minister's comments come after top EU officials' remarks claiming Turkey is moving away from the bloc's norms.

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