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Erdogan: Turkey not wanted in the EU because of Muslim population

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 00:55

Turkish President Erdogan says his nation is not wanted in the EU because of its Muslim majority population. Rough Cut - subtitled (no reporter narration).

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SUBTITLED ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Britain's Brexit campaign and the rise of Europe's populist right have further dented Turkish hopes of ever joining the EU, leaving President Tayyip Erdogan largely indifferent to its criticism and weakening an anchor of Turkish reform on Wednesday (June 22). While neither side has any interest in putting Turkey's decade-long accession process on ice, their relations are increasingly transactional, driven by mutual need in areas such as migration, trade and security, rather than by convergence towards European norms on democracy and basic rights. Warnings from populist leaders around Europe of creeping Islamization and from campaigners for Britain's exit from the EU of dire consequences if Turkey, a Muslim nation of 78 million, joins, have led Turkey's leaders to complain increasingly openly about what they see as Europe's Islamophobia. "Europe, you don't want us because the majority of our population are Muslim," Erdogan said at a graduation ceremony in Istanbul on the eve of Britain's "Brexit" vote, quipping that Turkey too could hold such a referendum. "We will go and ask the public whether we should continue negotiations with the EU," he said. Turkey has so far lived up to its side of a landmark deal with Brussels to stop illegal migration to Europe via its shores, in return for financial aid, the promise of visa-free travel and accelerated talks on membership of the bloc. But it has alarmed EU leaders by pressing ahead with a crackdown on Erdogan's opponents, including moves to prosecute pro-Kurdish opposition politicians on terrorism charges, the detention of journalists and academics, and changes in the judiciary seen by critics as a purge of dissident judges.

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Erdogan: Turkey not wanted in the EU because of Muslim population

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 00:55