Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a warm welcome from his Polish peer Andrzej Duda on October 17, as Warsaw said it supported Ankara’s formally ongoing bid to become a member of the European Union.
Erdogan’s visit to Poland was the first to an EU member state after last year’s attempted coup against the president led him to orchestrate a massive crackdown on the opposition, with thousands jailed and hundreds of critical media gagged.
Turkey’s relationship with the EU has been at its lowest point in years as a result, although EU leaders must somehow work with the realities of Turkey’s being an important Nato member and part of the EU’s efforts to control migration.
Poland’s own position in the bloc is also weak, as the populist government of Law and Justice (PiS) and party loyalist Duda have been under fire for disrespecting the rule of law.
Following the authoritarian turn in Turkey, the EU and leading member states such as Germany have said Ankara’s ambition to join the bloc is dead in practical terms.
“Poland has continued to support Turkey's efforts to join the European Union, as Turkey has had these aspirations for many years,” Duda said in clear opposition to the current stance of the EU and Germany, with which Poland is also at odds over the issue of reparation for the Second World War.
Duda also did not risk referring to Erdogan’s crackdown on opposition other than saying the two talked about “Turkey’s internal situation after the tragic, dramatic events, after the attempted coup that took place in Turkey last year”.
Erdogan and Duda also took part in a Polish-Turkish business forum, during which Duda said the trade between the two countries has the potential to double to at least €10bn a year.
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