Turkish President Erdoğan: EU 'Islamophobic' towards Turkey
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photo.Turkey did not expect the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU, Turkey’s president has admitted on June 24.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended a fast-breaking iftar dinner hosted by the All Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUMSİAD) and wished the best to the U.K. after a historic referendum on June 23, in which voters opted to leave the EU.
“We, along with the whole world, were expecting ‘yes’ for the referendum result,” Erdoğan said.
U.K. voters opted to leave the EU in a historic referendum on June 23, sparking worries across European capitals over the political future of the bloc.
Almost 52 percent of voters rejected their country's 43-year EU membership.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey has always given its due importance to the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid but the bloc has been delaying the process.
“Double standards are no longer hidden. They have put more obstacles on Turkey’s path. They have been keeping Turkey waiting at their door for 53 years.”
During his speech, Erdoğan also criticized EU's asylum procedures.
“The EU bloc’s bad humanitarian and immoral approach to immigrants has led to a serious debate about the trustworthiness of the European Union,” he said.
The EU and Turkey signed a refugee deal on March 18, which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.
Although Turkey fulfilled most of the criteria last month, differences between Brussels and Ankara on anti-terror legislation have forestalled the visa-liberalization deal.
Erdoğan said the EU was being Islamophobic vis-a-vis Turkey.
“I am saying now that the EU’s approach to Turkey is Islamophobic,” Erdoğan added.
Turkey began its EU accession talks in 2005.In 1963, Turkey and the European Economic Community (the EU’s former name) signed an association agreement.