Erdogan says EU needs Turkey as member

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is "stubbornly" pursuing European Union membership despite efforts in some circles to keep Turkey out of "the European family."

Erdogan attended a meeting in Ankara on Thursday to review the needed steps to advance Turkey's EU membership bid. He said that without Turkey, the EU won't effectively combat "existential threats" to its founding principles, such as Islamophobia and hostility toward migrants.

The EU relies on Turkey to stem the flow of asylum-seekers to Europe. In his speech, Erdogan accused the EU of leaving Turkey alone to shoulder the refugee burden. The country is home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

Turkey began EU membership negotiations in 2005 but the talks have stalled.

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