Saturday 28 May 2016 3:39 pm

Turkey hits back at Cameron's "Year 3000" accession claim

Turkey has hit back against David Cameron's claim that it will not join the European Union for another thousand years.

Facing pressure from Leave campaigners last weekend over the extension of the EU and Turkey's application to join the union, the prime minister said: "At the current rate of progress they will probably get round to joining in about the year 3000."

The claim was ridiculed by Leave campaigners, who accused him of "misleading the public" and pointed out Cameron had previously been in favour of Turkey's accession.

Today, the Turkish government, fresh from securing a controversial deal which includes visa free travel for Turkish citizens around the EU, has responded.

Read more: Turkey's prime minister shows the EU is dead

According to the Russian state news agency Sputnik News, the Turkish government's main spokesperson and deputy prime minister Numan Kurtulumus said Cameron's comments were misguided:

"If anyone says that the process of Turkey's accession to the European Union will continue until 3000, then it is a shame not for Turkey, but for those who voice these thoughts."

Negotiations on admission to the European Union was started in 2005, but Turkey first applied to join the European Economic Community nearly three decades ago, in 1987.

Read more: How much does the UK contribute to the EU?

For new members to join the European Union, they must open and conclude negotiations on implementing 33 chapters of European Law. So far the two sides have reached agreement on just one – science and research – and have only officially started talks on 15 of them.

In addition, every current member of the EU must agree to a new country's accession, in effect giving each member state a veto.