Turkey yesterday threatened to scrap a deal on halting the flow of migrants to the EU amid a spiralling war of words ¬between Ankara and the bloc.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the “spirit of ¬fascism” was running rampant in Europe, the latest in a series of ¬incendiary verbal attacks that have left EU politicians aghast and sparked calls for moderation.
Turkey and the EU have ¬become embroiled in an explosive crisis after key EU members The Netherlands and Germany blocked Turkish ministers from holding rallies to back constitutional changes expanding Mr Erdogan’s powers in an April 16 referendum.
Mr Erdogan has repeatedly ¬accused the two countries of ¬behaving like Nazis, drawing a firm response from EU chiefs who ¬yesterday blasted his comments as “detached from reality” and ¬incompatible with Turkey’s ambitions to join the bloc.
But far from stepping back, Mr Erdogan ratcheted up his rhetoric a further notch, comparing the treatment of non-Europeans in Europe to that of the Jews in World War II and pointing to the rise of far-right populist politicians on the continent.
“The spirit of fascism is running wild on the streets of ¬Europe,” he said in a televised speech. “Europe is heading ¬towards being drowned in its own fears. Turkophobia is mounting. Islamophobia is mounting. They are even scared of migrants who take shelter there.”
Under last March’s ¬migrant deal, Turkey agreed to tighten its maritime borders and also break up the people-¬smuggling networks that had helped migrants to make the risky crossing across the Aegean to Greece — the starting point of the trek to northern ¬Europe.
But Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told 24 TV that Turkey was ready to walk away from the accord given the crisis. “We can stop it unilaterally. We have not yet informed our counterparts, all of this is in our hands,” he said.