The Turkish President said that Europe did not want Turkey in the EU because the majority of the population is Muslim, and added that his government would request the opinion if negotiations with Brussels should continue.
“Europe! You do not want us because the majority of our population is Muslim. We knew, but we tried to show our sincere, “said the Turkish president at a graduation ceremony in Istanbul, Wednesday, June 22, Reuters reported.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave his speech on the eve of the historic vote on membership of the United Kingdom to the European Union (EU), stressing that Turkey could also hold a referendum on Europe.
“We will ask the public whether or not we should continue the negotiations with the EU,” said the Turkish president.
His comments followed statements from European leaders and populist militants and pro-Brexit who warned against Islamisation of Europe and its consequences if Turkey were to join the Union.
Of chaotic negotiations between Turkey and the EU
Discussions on a possible accession of Turkey to the EU date back to 1963 when Ankara and Brussels have drawn an association agreement that the country would aim to become a member of the Union. After officially submitted its application in 1987, Turkey began accession talks only in 2005, but has made little progress to date to meet the necessary criteria required by Brussels.
A new round of talks will be held June 30, 2016, where Turkish and EU leaders will discuss the “financial and budgetary provisions” that Turkey must fulfil to become a member.
Meanwhile, Ankara and Brussels continue to negotiate an agreement that would grant Turkish citizens the right to travel within the Schengen area without a visa .However, the European Commission recently estimated that Turkey does not always meet all the necessary criteria for visa exemption.
Among the criteria remaining to complete (seven of 72), a modification of the Turkish anti-terrorism laws, considered for now too flexible and threatening freedom of expression. Out of the question for the Turkish president, who said: “You have your means we have ours.”
Moreover, Erdogan has repeatedly threatened not to respect its commitments under the agreement with Brussels on the migratory crisis and leaving thousands of migrants flooding Europe if the EU does not apply the provisions of the agreement on visas for Turkish citizens. According to the text of the agreement, Turkey must take refugees seeking asylum in Europe in exchange for billions of euros of aid and political concessions.