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NATO Parliamentary Assembly session closes in Istanbul

Reporter: Natalie Carney 丨 CCTV.com

11-22-2016 20:11 BJT

NATO has finished its 62nd Parliamentary Assembly in the Turkish city, Istanbul. More than 350 deputies from 55 delegations took part in the annual session to discuss regional security and cooperation between the organisation and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. From Istanbul, CCTV's Natalie Carney has more.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg opened the session by acknowledging the recent “difficulties” Turkey had experienced and saluted the country’s courage and dedication to democracy following the attempted coup over the summer.

Meanwhile, the Turkish President demanded more support from its NATO allies for Turkey’s fight against terrorism and blasted the European Union over its perceived stance on terror organizations, urging Brussels to take necessary measures to ban the outlawed Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

"In particular, as a country that is a victim of terrorism, we can't accept the fact that the PKK, an organisation that the European Union itself has acknowledged as a terrorist organisation, can walk freely in EU member countries and have portraits of their leaders in the corridors of the European Parliament," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President.

On Sunday President Erdogan said his country didn't need to join the EU and could instead become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, dominated by China and Russia, a move that would likely bother Western allies and fellow NATO members.

However, China has responded by saying it is willing to consider full membership of Turkey.

Ankara is a “dialogue partner” of the SCO, entitling it to take part in ministerial-level, but not in the voting process.

After 11 years of negotiations, Turkey's prospects of joining the EU look more remote than ever with European leaders critical of Ankara’s record on democratic freedoms.

Turkey says a referendum on continuing the process towards EU membership could be held on in 2017.

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