ANKARA, Turkey – 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.