Turkish FM urges European Union to implement visa-free regime

The "games" he claims are being played are attempts by European leaders to stop Turkish ministers leading rallies in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expanding his power in an up-and-coming referendum.

Europe has become increasingly Islamophobic and xenophobic, with racist sentiments and attacks against Muslims and non-white refugees, migrants and even naturalised citizens increasing at an alarming rate.

The comments were made while the Turkish president was campaigning for a "yes" vote in an upcoming constitutional referendum that would grant him sweeping new powers. "That's because you are the future of Europe".

"Make not three, but five children", he said.

The dominant Turkish leader accused Germany and the Netherlands of "fascist actions" for cancelling several planned rallies of his ministers.

Switzerland helps foreign prosecutors only if the crime they are investigating is a criminal offense in Switzerland as well, and that was not the case here, a spokesman for the Federal Office of Justice said on Friday.

Some 2.5 million Turkish citizens resident in Europe are eligible to vote in elections in their homeland.

Erdogan said there was no difference between the tactics used by the police "and the gladiators in ancient Rome".

The comments follow a European Court of Human Rights ruling that businesses could ban their employees from wearing religious symbols including Islamic headscarves in certain circumstances.

Sweeping aside the EU's remarks, Turkey's European Union affairs minister and foreign minister earlier this week threatened to tear up the migration deal, accusing the European Union of reneging on its promise to grant visa exemption for Turkish citizens.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been further upset following the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist in Ankara over his reports on Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish population.

"Let us remind you that you can not play games in this region and ignore Turkey", he said.

Suleyman Soylu is threatening the landmark deal signed by Ankara and Brussels last March that has substantially lessened the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.

The EU says it expects Turkey to continue implementing the deal.

  • Leroy Wright