ANKARA (AVRUPA TIMES)-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday blasted the European Parliament's 2015 Turkey Progress Report as “provocative”. In a meeting of local officials at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Erdogan shot back at the report’s criticisms of Turkey in terms of major construction projects, security, and press freedom. Pointing to Article 17 of the report on major construction projects, Erdogan said: "The European Parliament's report is provocative”.
In that article, the European Parliament urgently appeals the Turkish government "to operate with environmental and social impact assessments and to duly involve the local population in the project design so that long-term negative effects of urbanization, consumption of space and environmental degradation can be avoided to the extent possible”.
Suggesting the report’s writers want to halt these projects, Erdogan said: "Turkey will not give up its 2023 targets, and you should keep this in mind.”
Turkey has various huge projects expected to be completed by 2023, its centennial, including Canal Istanbul, an artificial sea-level waterway parallel to the Bosphorus that would connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara
Other project, Istanbul’s third airport, with a 160-million annual passenger capacity, is under construction in Istanbul’s Arnavutkoy district.
Yet another is the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third bridge to span the Bosphorus Strait, adding yet another link between Europe and Asia.
Erdogan said that the report is not binding on Turkey, and added: "The report has been already returned” to the EU by Ankara.
"Our reaction is not to the report or the European Parliament, but our reaction is to how little the report has been prepared with a constructive approach", he said.
"You should know that the European Union needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the European Union", Erdogan stressed at the end of his speech.
Erdogan also argued that the report used the views of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). "For this reason, it is not surprising that the report has been prepared in this manner.”