BELGRADE – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again contributed to increasing tensions between his country and the West.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, he recently criticized the alleged indifference of some European countries towards suffering Syrians in need and stressed that the EU is more worried about rare species of turtles and gay rights, rather than the fate of refugees.
“Shame on those who in the West divert their sensitivity to the so-called freedoms, rights, and law shown in the debate over gay marriage away from Syrian women, children, and innocents in need of aid,” Erdogan said, cited by the media source.
“Shame on those who divert their sensitivities to the living space of the whales in the seas, seals, [and] turtles away from the right to life of 23 million Syrians,” he added.
According to the Turkish leader, Western politicians are more interested in their own prosperity and comfort and ignore the problems of those who struggle to survive. Erdogan argued that neither Europe nor the US care about hundreds of thousands of Syrians who had to flee their home country amid increased violence.
Earlier in March, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis. In return, the 28-member bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime between Turkey and the Schengen area.
However, the refugee deal is on the brink of failure since Wednesday. The European Parliament has temporarily suspended its work on the visa-free regime for Turkey, since the latter has not fulfilled 72 conditions necessary for the visa-free travel to enter into force.