Europe should cleanse itself from Islamophobia and racism within its own borders before trying to give Turkey democracy lessons, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.

"We are not a country that deserves scolding from Europe," Erdogan said during a speech at a symposium by the Confederation of Public Servants' Trade Unions in Ankara.

"We are not Europe's scapegoat. The days of old Turkey are over," he said.

The Turkish president slammed the West's criticism of Turkey's ongoing "parallel state" probe, which saw detentions of several media figures and police officials.

Erdogan said there were similar probes in Europe and the U.S. during which some journalists were also detained there.

"They keep silent while it happens in their own countries. They choose to hide the fact that journalists were expatriated and killed in Israel. But they never hesitate to use those who were detained in Turkey for activities irrelevant to journalism," he said.

"We have been deceived by those portraying themselves as our friends," he added.

"The dirty plots of these traitors, under the disguise of Hizmet, aim to revive the old Turkey," Erdogan said.

"We will fight with the parallel state further to claim the rights of students who were cheated in civil service exams, and of our business persons, craftsmen who gave donations to them sincerely."

He reiterated that the parallel state was a pawn in the hands of international circles that wished for an economic or political collapse in Turkey.

"We have to be always on alert. Because as the parallel state failed in their plots, the masterminds using them will start to look for other puppets to bring the days of old Turkey back," the president said.

On Dec. 14, a police operation was launched against senior media figures and police officers in 13 provinces across Turkey for allegedly being affiliated with what the government describes as the "parallel state," an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police.

More than 20 suspects were taken into custody, alleged to be linked with U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his so-called Gulen movement, also called Hizmet.

In December 2013, an anti-graft probe targeted several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.

 Anadolu Agency