Macron suggests no European Union membership; Erdogan says Turkey sick of waiting

Commenting on the possibility of Turkey turning its back on Europe he added: 'One can not permanently implore and wait to be finally included'.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace, President Erdogan said: 'Unfortunately, we did the first steps in 1963, and it's now been 54 years that Turkey has been waiting in the antechamber of the EU.

During the visit, Presidents of Turkey and France, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Emmanuel Macron, will discuss regional issues, as well as the issue of declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the situation in Iraq, Syria and Iran, as well as relations between Turkey and the EU.

In an interview with France's LCI television on Thursday, he said he had got off to a "very good start" with France's new leader.

In order to become a member of the bloc, Turkey has to successfully conclude negotiations with the EU in 35 policy chapters that involve reforms and the adoption of European standards.

More than 55,000 officials, security force members, judges, academics, journalists and activists have been arrested since the coup, which has been accompanied by a crackdown on pro-Kurdish activists.

Macron suggests no European Union membership; Erdogan says Turkey sick of waiting

Over 140,000 people have been sacked or suspended, accused of links to the movement run by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of orchestrating the attempted coup.

Amnesty International, whose Turkey head Taner Kilic has been jailed, said Macron should "strongly remind (Erdogan) that human rights defenders are not terrorists". "Europe always tells us that judiciary must be independent. They make their own decisions independently".

Ties between Turkey and Europe worsened a year ago amid mass arrests and firings carried out by Erdogan's government following a July 2016 coup attempt. "But at the same time our democracies must respect the rule of law".

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said that "there was a real focus on Turkey's relationship with the European Union, because it really has deteriorated over the past two years".

Erdogan also told the news conference he would discuss with Macron subjects such as the status of Jerusalem, Iraq and Libya, as well as the latest developments on the divided island of Cyprus and European Union-related issues.

Turkey awarded the 18-month contract to the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium and its Turkish partners Aselsan and Roketsan, Eurosam said in statement.

Anushka Sharma tears up the dance floor at wedding reception
Anushka Sharma being a Bollywood diva is also always in when it comes to hitting the dance floor. The couple are expected to throw another reception in Mumbai on 26 December.

  • Sonia Alvarado