Labour And Conservative-led Government Support For Turkey’s Application To Join The European Union

Will Straw from the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign told the BBC Today Programme on 13th April that the UK has a veto over Turkish accession to the EU. However, the quotes below detail the long record of support for Turkish membership of the EU by both Labour and Conservative-led governments.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, December 2002: “I believe we have an historic opportunity to set a firm date for the opening of accession negotiations for Turkey, and to send the clearest possible signal that the European Union wants Turkey inside the European family as a full partner.” (BBC News article)

Prime Minister Tony Blair, May 2004: “Britain wants to see Turkey in the EU. Britain supports Turkey’s membership of the EU. We have been proud to champion that over the past few years…. On the basis of Turkey’s compliance, there should be no obstacles to Turkey’s membership of the EU.” (Independent article)

Prime Minister Tony Blair, September 2005: “I sincerely believe that EU membership is Turkey’s future.” (Guardian article)

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw,October 2005: “We need to see Turkey in the European Union… We want Turkey to join the EU because it is a European country. It has been promised membership of the European Union for the last 42 years. We’ve repeated that promise five times in the last ten years.” (BBC News article)

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague, December 2006: “Mr Hague… said the Conservatives had long supported Turkish EU membership.” (BBC News article)

Foreign Secretary David Miliband, September 2007: “We want the EU to be a shared institution of which Britain and Turkey are full and equal members.” (BBC News article)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s stance in September 2009: “[Mr Brown is] the only leader of Europe’s “big three” [the UK, France and Germany] to favour Turkey’s application.” (Telegraph article)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said at a joint-press conference with Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in March 2010 that the EU would benefit from “the cultural, economic and political strength Turkey will bring to Europe’s top table”. (Downing Street news release reported in New Zealand press)

Foreign Secretary William Hague, September 2010: “Only by having a seat at the table will Turkey be able to contribute fully to the security and prosperity of the EU’s member states.” (Financial Times article jointly written with Alexander Stubb)

Foreign Secretary William Hague, 2010-2015: “This government is also steadfast in its support for Turkey’s EU accession.” (Quoted in the foreword to First magazine.)

Prime Minister David Cameron, July 2010: “I believe it’s just wrong to say Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit inside the tent.” (Guardian article)

House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on the implications for justice and home affairs of Turkish accession to the EU, August 2011: “The UK Government is, like its predecessor, a staunch supporter of Turkish accession.” (See report)

Prime Minister David Cameron, December 2014: “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. We discussed that again in our talks today.” (Telegraph article)

Prime Minister David Cameron, October 2015. Kenneth Clarke MP asked in the House of Commons if support for Turkey’s EU accession remained the policy of the British government. Mr Cameron replied: “I can confirm to my right honourable friend that the British government’s policy hasn’t changed.” (Hansard)

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, November 2015. Mr Hammond said he would like to see ‘new momentum’ given to Turkey’s accession into the EU. (Conservative Home article)



14th April 2016 - European Union, Policy

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