Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized stance of the European Union (EU) towards Turkey, "they have been keeping us waiting for 50 years.
If they have a different opinion about Turkey's accession, they should be honest," he said. In a televised interview on PBS, Erdogan said, "we endeavored to fulfill our commitments in the past 50 years. However, there are many countries that accessed to EU in this period. Turkey is still waiting at the door. They say Turkey is a big country and has a big population, and would be a burden. We will be there to share the burden. There are already five million Turkish citizens in Europe."

Erdogan said it would be very wrong to say that Turkey established relations only with Islamic countries.

Erdogan denied the views that Turkish foreign policy attached less importance to Europe and concentrated on the East.

"Turkey has never considered the East an alternative to the West and the South an alternative to the North. Turkey is going through a normalisation process and it is in an effort to maintain positive relations," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said Turkey assumed the role of a bridge between the West and the Islam world being a democratic, secular and social state of law. He said Turkey co-chaired Alliance of Civilizations with Spain.

Erdogan said Turkey was the only country in NATO having Muslim nation.

AA