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British PM: Turkey will join Europe ‘in year 3000’

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said it is ‘not remotely on the cards’ that Turkey would join the EU soon

Published: Updated:

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday said that Turkey would only be able to join the European Union “in about the year 3000,” hitting back at claims that Britain would lose the power to vote over Turkey’s membership if his country leaves the bloc.

‘Vote Leave,’ a cross-party campaign, is urging British citizens to vote to leave the EU all together in a June 23 referendum. The ‘Leave’ campaign predicts that 142,000 Turkish citizens could head to the UK every year if Ankara joins the EU.

But for Cameron, who wishes for the UK to stay in the European bloc, the ‘Leave’ campaigners are making a “very misleading” claim about Turkey and are “absolutely wrong.”

The premier explained “a fact” that Britain, even if not a member of the EU, will nevertheless still have a veto as each country will decide if a new country would be joining the EU.

He added: “It is not remotely on the cards that Turkey is going to join the EU any time soon. They applied in 1987.

“At the current rate of progress they will probably get round to joining in about the year 3000 according to the latest forecasts.”
To leave or not to leave?

The main “Leave” campaigner and former London Mayor Boris Johnson has compared the EU’s goals to those of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, while “Stay” supporting Cameron has suggested that a decision to leave the 28-nation bloc would please ISIS extremists.

EU advocates argue that leaving the bloc would batter Britain’s economy, costing each household thousands, while the “Leave” side says Britain has blithely forfeited the independence it once fought so fiercely to defend - and can reclaim it only by walking away from the EU and its byzantine rules.

British security chiefs have weighed in (most want to stay) along with business leaders (stay, for the most part) and 300 well-known figures from the arts (stay).

World leaders have also chimed in, including President Barack Obama (stay) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who argues Britain would be foolhardy to turn its back on its EU trading partners.

The prospect of a British exit - a Brexit - hangs over the future of the EU, which is already reeling from a prolonged refugee crisis, a series of lethal attacks, and a financial meltdown that has threatened the future of the euro single currency that is used by 19 member states, though not Britain.

Turkey urges end to ‘confusion’

On Sunday, Turkey’s incoming Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told the European Union it was time to end the “confusion” about Ankara’s long-standing membership bid as well as the landmark deal on migrants.

“There is one thing that needs to be done by the European Union. This confusion over Turkey's full membership and the migrant issue has to be brought to an end. It is time for us to know what the EU thinks about Turkey,” Yildirim said.

“We have thus far carried out any kind of necessary reforms with determination and will continue to do so to improve democracy and make strides on human rights ... with or without the European Union,” he said.

His comments came amid growing frustration in Ankara over the sluggish pace over its membership bid as well as problems in implementing an EU promise to give Turks visa-free travel as part of the controversial refugee deal.


(With the Associated Press and AFP)