President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a fast-breaking iftar dinner hosted by the All Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUMSIAD) and wished the best to the U.K. after a historic referendum on Thursday, in which voters opted to leave the EU.
“We, along with the whole world, were expecting ‘yes’ for the referendum result,” Erdogan said.
U.K. voters opted to leave the EU in a historic referendum on Thursday, 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.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey has always given its due importance to the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid but the bloc has always 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, Erdogan 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.
Erdogan said the EU was being Islamophobic vis-a-vis Turkey.
“I am saying now that the EU’s approach to Turkey is Islamophobic,” Erdogan 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.