David Cameron has been criticised for not being straight with the British public over Turkish membership of the EU. Last night President Erdogan’s Chief Adviser, İlnur Çevik, said that the Turkish government was ‘flabbergasted’ that their ‘chief supporter’ was saying something different in public to what he has told them in private.
This morning Sir John Major admitted that Turkey could join the EU in ‘a decade’, directly contradicting the Prime Minister's claim that they would not join until the year 3000.
Commenting, Iain Duncan Smith said:
‘David Cameron has repeatedly claimed that Turkey is not going to join the EU despite it being Government policy. Now the Turkish government has confirmed that he is the ‘chief supporter’ of their bid to join the EU.
‘Cameron also said that Turkey will not join until the year 3000 but Sir John Major has let the cat out of the bag - Turkey could be in the EU in ten years’ time.
‘I’m afraid there is no conclusion you can draw from this, except that David Cameron is colluding with the EU and lying to the British people. Families are suffering the consequences of uncontrolled migration - a direct result of the EU’s obsession with freedom of movement.
‘They are suffering from downward pressure on their wages, and facing increased competition for housing, school places, and GP appointments to name but a few. With five more countries lining up to join the EU - Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Turkey - this problem can only get worse.
‘That’s why it is safer to Vote Leave.’
Notes to editors
- Former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, admitted on the last day of the campaign that Turkey may join the EUin 10 years.
- Turkey and four other countries are joining the EU. This is being accelerated with unanimous support. Talks could begin the day after the referendum.
- The UK Government is actively considering granting visa-free access to Turkey after the referendum.
- The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has acknowledged that Turkish accession is a risk to our security.
- The Turkish Government has condemned David Cameron’s two faces on Turkey.
Former Prime Minister, Sir John Major, admitted on the last day of the campaign that Turkey may join the EU in 10 years.
- In a campaign speech today, Sir John Major said that Turkey ‘won't get in for one decade [or] two decades’ (link)
- This directly contradicts the Prime Minister, who has claimed that Turkey would not join for a thousand years (Daily Telegraph, May 2016, link).
The Turkish Government has condemned David Cameron’s two faces on Turkey.
- The chief adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, İlnur Çevik, has accused David Cameron of changing his position on Turkey for political purposes, stating: ‘We thought that Mr Cameron was our chief supporter in our quest for European Union membership. We are really, really flabbergasted’ (Daily Telegraph, 21 June 2016, link).
Turkey and four other countries are joining the EU. This is being accelerated with unanimous support. Talks could begin the day after the referendum.
- The accession process is being accelerated. In a press release issued on 15 June, the European Commission announced that ‘The Commission tabled the Draft Common Position on Chapter 33 (financial and budgetary provisions) in the Council on 29 April, enabling the Council to decide on the opening of this Chapter by end of June. In addition, preparatory work continues at an accelerated pace to make progress on five Chapters’ (European Commission, 15 June 2016, link). This confirmed a report that David Cameron has agreed to the talks being sped up. These could begin the day after the referendum (Financial Times, 14 June 2016, link).
- There is unanimous support in the EU for the quickening pace of Turkish accession. On 18 March 2016, the European Council unanimously agreed that the EU should ‘re-energise the accession process’ and that Turkish acceleration should be ‘accelerated’ (European Council, 18 March 2016, link).
- David Cameron strongly supports this. In 2010, Cameron said he was ‘angry’ at the slow pace of Turkish accession, that he was the ‘strongest possible advocate for EU membership’ for Turkey, and that ‘I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels’ (Prime Minister’s Office, 27 July 2010, link). In 2014, he said that: ‘In terms of Turkish membership of the EU, I very much support that. That’s a longstanding position of British foreign policy which I support’ (Daily Telegraph, 9 December 2014, link).
- The Government admitted it supported Turkish accession last month. Last month, the Europe Minister, David Lidington, said: ‘The UK supports Turkey’s EU accession process’ (Turkey: EU Accession: Written question - 33258, 14 April 2016, link).
- The British public will not get a vote on the accession of Turkey to the EU. The European Union Act 2011 allows the Government to ratify EU accession treaties without a referendum (European Union Act 2011, s. 4(4)(c), link). There was no referendum on the accession of Croatia to the EU in 2013 (European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Act 2013, s. 1, link).
- The Government opposes giving the British people a say. As the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said in 2011: ‘A few years ago, 10 new member states joined the European Union at the same time. I believe that their combined population then was 73 million, which is slightly greater than Turkey's population is now. I do not believe that anybody in this country argued at that time that a British referendum on those accessions was right’ (Hansard, 24 January 2011, col. 123, link).
- The UK is paying £2bn to help Turkey, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to join the EU. Turkey alone is set to receive over £1 billion of UK funds to help prepare it for membership (Vote Leave, 27 April 2016, link).
The UK Government is actively considering granting visa-free access to Turkey after the referendum.
- The Government is actively considering granting approximately 1 million Turkish citizens visa-free travel to the UK. The Government admitted this was ‘a risk’. The Government also described the possibility of visa-free access for ‘1.8 million Kosovars’ to be ‘a drop in that larger ocean’ and noted the Commission was planning to ‘slipstream’ Kosovo ‘behind Turkey’ (Sunday Times, 12 June 2016, link; BBC News, 12 June 2016, link).
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has acknowledged that Turkish accession is a risk to our security.
- During the referendum campaign, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, said ‘The states now negotiating to join the EU include Albania, Serbia and Turkey - countries with poor populations and serious problems with organised crime, corruption, and sometimes even terrorism… Do we really think now is the time to contemplate a land border between the EU and countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria?’ (Institute of Mechanical Engineers speech, 25 April 2016, link).