(AFP) -Turkey on Wednesday slammed the European Union as “hypocritical” and “prejudiced” after the bloc said Ankara was moving further away from Europe, just days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new term.
EU ministers on Tuesday said Turkey’s long-stalled accession negotiations — which began officially in 2005 — had “effectively come to a standstill.”
The EU European affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg added that Turkey was “moving further away from the European Union.”
“Once again it is shown how the EU does not treat Turkey fairly or sincerely,” the Turkish foreign ministry responded in a statement, describing the ministers’ conclusions as “hypocritical and incoherent.”
It added that the ministers’ statement also reflected the “prejudiced and unjust attitude” against Turkey.
Turkish EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Twitter the conclusions showed that the EU was “confused,” with statements that “lacked vision” and were “full of contradictions.”
Relations between Turkey and the EU have been strained for several years but especially so since the July 2016 attempted coup, with Ankara accusing Brussels of being unsupportive of the multiple terror threats Turkey faces.
The EU has also often criticized the crackdown and the attacks on freedom of speech which followed the failed putsch, in which tens of thousands of people have been arrested including journalists.
The EU and Turkey had agreed a deal in March 2016 worth billions of euros in which Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalization, which has yet to be introduced for Turks.
Celik said that the EU’s latest comments amounted to saying “that it will not honor its commitments of the 18 March statement.”
Taking aim in particular at Austria’s conservative government, Celik said it was “tragi-comic” that the EU made such comments when it was “held captive by members where the far-right is ruling.”
The EU has reacted coolly to Erdogan’s decisive victory in Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections, which will give him sweeping new powers.
EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and EU president Donald Tusk only issued the tersest of statements of congratulation to Erdogan.