Erdogan said on Thursday that the EU’s ban on headscarves in the workplace would launch “a struggle between the cross and the crescent.”
17 Mar 2017
MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images
In addition to his customary invective against European governments for refusing to allow his ministers to rally Turkish expatriates behind him, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the EU’s new ban on headscarves in the workplace would launch “a struggle between the cross and the crescent.”
“Where is the liberty of religion? They have commenced a struggle between the cross and crescent. There is no other explanation than this. I am saying this clearly: Europe is heading toward the days just before World War II,” said Erdogan, as rendered by Hurriyet Daily News.
Euractiv transcribes Erdogan’s quote as, “The European Union’s court, the European Court of Justice, my esteemed brothers, have started a crusade struggle against the crescent,” which would be even more incendiary. Jihad and Islamist groups perpetually accuse Western powers of conducting another “crusade” against Muslims.
“Shame on the EU. Down with your European principles, values, and justice,” Erdogan told his supporters.
In a tirade on Wednesday, Erdogan said the “spirit of fascism is roaming the streets of Europe,” comparing the treatment of Muslims to how the Nazis treated Jews.
“The fear of the Turks is beginning to appear. The fear of Islam is beginning to appear. They are even afraid of the migrants looking for asylum. They fear everything which originates elsewhere; they are hostile to everything that is not from there,” he thundered.
Also speaking on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu predicted that “holy wars” would soon begin in Europe.
As translated by Hurriyet Daily News, Cavusoglu said:
Now the election is over in the Netherlands. … When you look at the many parties you see there is no difference between the social democrats and fascist [Geert] Wilders. All have the same mentality. Where will you go? Where are you taking Europe? You have begun to collapse Europe. You are dragging Europe into the abyss. Holy wars will soon begin in Europe.
“They killed each other 100 years ago because they were of different faiths, but they learned a lesson from this and set up the European Union and the Council of Europe,” Cavusoglu continued, prompting a bit of head-scratching from Hurriyet about exactly what he was driving at.
Like Cavusoglu, Erdogan took some time on Thursday to thumb his nose at the Netherlands, taunting re-elected Prime Minister Mark Rutte: “O Rutte! You may have been first in the elections, but you have lost a friend like Turkey.”
He went on to needle Rutte about refusing to have dinner with him because “there is no such prime minister here – give it up, you have lost.” Presumably, this was Erdogan’s way of treating Rutte as beneath his notice.
Erdogan wrapped up his remarks by threatening to scuttle Turkey’s migrant readmission agreement with the European Union.
“They have promised to remove visas. Now they are talking about a readmission plan. What readmission? Get over it! You did not let my minister enter the Netherlands, you did not give permission to my foreign minister to fly to the country and did not let the minister get into the consulate building, which is my territory. Then you are expecting readmission? There is no such thing,” Erdogan said.