If EU opposes Islamophobia, it must accept Turkey as member: Erdoğan

If EU opposes Islamophobia, it must accept Turkey as member: Erdoğan

If EU opposes Islamophobia, it must accept Turkey as member: Erdoğan

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the European Union "must admit Turkey" as a member if it opposes Islamophobia.

Erdoğan became the first Turkish President who visited Djibouti on Jan. 24, one day after he interrupted his Horn of Africa tour to attend King Abdullah's funeral in Saudi Arabia. Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh welcomed his Turkish counterpart at the Djibouti City airport.

Turkish President, who had visited Ethiopia as the first stop of his tour, touched upon a number of foreign policy issues during his joint press conference with Guelleh, which was attended by the members of the large Turkish delegation that included cabinet members such as Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Stressing that the past decade saw the deaths of thousands of Muslims in the region, Erdoğan slammed the "coup-makers" in Egypt. "3,000 Muslims were killed in one day. It is unprecedented in recent history," Erdoğan said, criticizing the Egyptian government for the crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood.

"We host 1,700,000 Syrians. We spent $5.5 billion so far," Erdoğan continued, before stressing that the international community contributed with just $250 million. "The total number of Syrian refugees in Europe is 130,000" he added. "The world watches [Syria] as a spectator. The dominant powers, the EU, they all just watch it. And whom they strike at? Muslims..."

After repeating that Turkey "will never tolerate terrorists" as they "can be from any religion," Erdoğan stepped up his rhetoric on Turkey's ongoing EU membership process. 

"It is not important whether they accept us or not. We keep up with our work. We are testing Europe. Will Europe be able to digest and to accept Turkey, whose people are Muslims? If you oppose Islamophobia, then you must admit Turkey into the EU," he said.

The thesis claiming that the EU is a "Christian club" will be justified, if Turkey is rejected, according to Erdoğan.

"Turkey is included in NATO, OECD... And why don't you admit it into the EU? Then, the problem is elsewhere," he continued, vowing that "Turkey is a strong country now and it will not come to the EU's door to beg" for membership.

"If Turkey is accepted, it will be a member. If they reject it, then it will make its own way," Erdoğan concluded.

Somalia attack 'not against Turkey'

Turkish President also confirmed that he will not cancel his visit to Somalia scheduled for Jan. 25, despite a Jan. 22 attack at the gate of a Mogadishu hotel where Turkish delegates were attending a preparatory meeting.

Five Somalis were killed when the suicide car bomb exploded, while there were no casualties among 70 members of the Turkish delegation.

"I don't think that this attack was against us, against Turkey. I don't want to think this way," Erdoğan said upon a question, noting that the bombing could be "the kind of attacks that have been targeting the Somali government" in the past years. 

"If the organizers are really Somalis and Muslims, then they should know that Turkey has got nothing to do with Somalia but to help and support it," Turkish President stressed.

He added that he would visit the country to inaugurate the hospitals and roads that Turkey built. "I believe that it will make our brothers happy. If somebody feels uncomfortable, then he is an enemy of Somalia."

Erdoğan also spoke at the country's National Assembly, where he said that Turkey would provide scholarships for 3,500 African students studying in Turkey.
He stated that there were currently 65 students from Djibouti studying in Turkey and that he wished to raise the number to 100.

He also commented on the situation of the two countries on the two different continents, saying: "Although both countries are models of stability, the instability of the region, the conflicts and terrorism affect them directly."