Turkey Warns Of Rising European Xenophobia
Europe's politicians are failing to combat rising xenophobia and anti-immigrant views, Turkish officials said on Friday (June 24), after Britain's vote to exit the European Union deprived Turkey of what had been a major backer in its quest for EU membership.
Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said the UK Brexit campaign had been marred by "anti-semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Turkey tendencies" to appeal to voters.
The "Out" campaign played on voters' fears about immigration by warning of dire consequences if Turkey, a largely Muslim nation of 79 million, joined the EU.
Ankara was particularly angered by the response of Prime Minister David Cameron, once a staunch advocate of Turkish accession to the EU, who joked that it would not happen until the year 3000.
Turkey began EU accession talks in 2005 but has made scant progress despite an initial burst of reforms.
Many EU states are not eager to see such a large, mostly Muslim country as a member, and are concerned that Ankara's record on basic freedoms has gone into reverse in recent years.