• After questioning from UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge, today Tory MEP Syed Kamall, Conservative group leader in the European Parliament, admitted that "Turkey will never join the European Union."
This is in direct conflict with the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, who has said on several occasions that Turkey should join the EU, going as far to say, "I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy."
Bill Etheridge UKIP MEP for the West Midlands commented:
"I ask our Prime Minister a simple question: Mr Cameron, yes or no, are you in favour of EU membership for Turkey?"
"The leader of the Conservative MEPs made it perfectly clear his position on Turkey today and I commend him for his honesty. I am however interested in whether the Prime Minister shares his opinion. Mr Cameron has been adamant in the past that Turkey should join and I suspect his position is unchanged. I speak for the whole of UKIP when I unequivocally say Turkey should not join the EU." Syed Kamall , Tory leader of ECR Group in European Parliament in response to a question from UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge on whether he still supports his party leader's long-term aim to give full EU membership to Turkey:
"Actually, I think that we all need to be completely honest with Turkey. I have said this a number of times, let's be honest Turkey will never join the EU.
"I'm sorry but there are too many reasons why Turkey will not join, some of them based on pure prejudice about their faith and about Turks, some because people believe Turkey is not in Europe, some because they want a common foreign security policy and they do not want the borders to be with Iran, Syria and Iraq.
"Also others because they worry given the population of Turkey the number of MEPs they will have and the votes in council, you put all those reasons together, actually we've got to stop being dishonest with Turkey.
"It is time for all of us to be honest and say they will never be members of the EU."
Cameron on Turkey: "So I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy"