Global News

Erdogan tells Turks: Have 5 kids in Europe

Erdogan tells Turks: Have 5 kids in Europeā€¯

More than one million migrants entered the European Union in 2015, many of them fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The Turkish President accused an European Union ruling, which allows employers to ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf, of starting a struggle between Christian "cross" and "crescent" of Islamic world, media reports said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Bild am Sonntag newspaper Turkish accession to the EU "will not fail due to a lack of willingness on the part of EU members but rather due to Turkey not wanting to introduce European standards".

Turkey's relations with Europe are plunging from bad to worse, raising the prospect of a sharp divorce if constitutional amendments to dramatically expand Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's powers pass a referendum next month.

But, embittered by a Dutch move to block Turkish ministers from holding rallies several days earlier, Mr Erdogan offered no congratulations, instead saying the Netherlands had lost a friend.

Turkey has also raised alarm in Brussels by threatening to unilaterally scrap a 2016 agreement that has substantially reduced the flow of migrants to the EU.

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Gabriel said Germany should avoid reacting in kind to provocations from Turkey because that would only give Erdogan an enemy to direct his people's ire toward, arguing that the Turkish president "needs a bogeyman for his campaign".

Juncker nevertheless said he was opposed to a complete halt to all membership negotiations with Turkey.

Anti-immigrant nationalists shudder at the idea of a swiftly growing and more powerful Turkish - and Muslim - population in Europe. Now, Turkey threatens to rip up the deal and flood Europe with thousands of refugees into the continent each month.

Sigmar Gabriel described Erdogan's comments, including likening Germany's current leaders to Nazis, as "ludicrous" but said Europe should stop responding in a war of words which only plays into the Turkish leader's hands.

But his rhetoric has raised questions about the continuation of Turkey's half-century bid to join the EU. "We have done everything for that and the Turkish people are fed up of waiting", he said, preferring to stay anonymous.

In an interview published by Hamburg weekly Der Spiegel, Germany's foreign minister suggested that for now the most that Turkey can hope for is to, one day, achieve a "privileged partnership" with the bloc.

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