Europe

Turkish minister: EU membership not Turkey's 'only option'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, talks as Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens during a roundtable meeting on "Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts" at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016. World leaders and representatives of humanitarian organisations from across the globe converge in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016 for the first World Humanitarian Summit, focused on how to reform a system many judge broken. (Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu, Pool Photo via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, talks as Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens during a roundtable meeting on "Political Leadership to Prevent and End Conflicts" at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Monday, May 23, 2016. World leaders and representatives of humanitarian organisations from across the globe converge in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016 for the first World Humanitarian Summit, focused on how to reform a system many judge broken. (Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu, Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A top Turkish official says Turkey's EU membership is important but is not the country's "only option."

Omer Celik, the new minister in charge of relations with the EU, also said Wednesday that the bloc was applying "double standards" concerning its fight against terrorism.

His comments come amid tensions between Turkey and the EU over a deal to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens traveling to Europe. The EU says Turkey must narrow its definition of terrorism before it can grant a visa waiver. Turkey rejects that condition saying it would hamper its fight against Islamic State militants and Kurdish rebels.

Turkish officials have threatened to suspend agreements with the EU if it fails to meet promises, imperiling a wider deal on stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.