Turkey, Europe

Turkey's parliament speaker criticizes EU over migration, Islamophobia

Mustafa Sentop speaks to reporters on 3rd day of visit to Spain

Senhan Bolelli   | 21.09.2021
Turkey's parliament speaker criticizes EU over migration, Islamophobia


Turkey's parliament speaker on Tuesday criticized the EU for being inconsistent and unrealistic over the migration crisis, Islamophobia and Eastern Mediterranean crisis.

On the 3rd day of his visit to Spain, Mustafa Sentop also spoke on Turkey's ties with the European country, saying it wants to improve inter-parliamentary relations.

His visit to Spain is Turkey’s first at the parliament speaker level since 1994.

Reminding that Turkey sent protective equipment and other supplies to Spain when the coronavirus pandemic started last year, he said Spain was one of the first countries to send firefighting planes to Turkey as the forest fires spread across its southern provinces this summer.

"There is a friendship between Turkey and Spain that emerges in difficult times," he told reporters in Madrid, adding that Turkey's Trade Minister Mehmet Mus will visit Spain in the coming weeks, while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will come to Turkey on Nov. 17.

Alliance of Civilizations

Emphasizing that rising Islamophobia in Europe "plays a very dangerous role," Sentop said the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, which was founded 16 years ago under the co-chairmanship of Turkey and Spain, is "much more needed in this period."

"It will undoubtedly take time for this project to become operational and effective," he said, adding that Turkey and Spain remain committed to the initiative. "We can make it happen."

The alliance aims to overcome fear and polarization between Muslim countries and Western societies.

Migration issue

Underlining that the EU did not fully comply with the 2016 migration agreement with Turkey, Sentop said: "What the EU has done in Turkey does not even make up one-tenth of its promises."

He stressed that every country has "responsibility and authority" over the migration crisis, and that only "Turkey does not have to bear the burden."

"Those who create it must also step in and take the burden," he said. "If this does not happen, the turmoil, economic imbalances, injustices in the world will lead to new waves of migration."

Eastern Mediterranean

Asked about the tension in Eastern Mediterranean, Sentop said: "It would be beneficial to leave the Eastern Mediterranean to the Eastern Mediterranean."

"Greece is not in the Eastern Mediterranean, France has nothing to do with it," he said. "Turkey will always protect and defend its rights within the international law."

He also criticized the EU for shaping its relations with Turkey based on the "whims of Greece and the Greek Cypriots."

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

On Afghanistan, where the Taliban have taken power, Sentop said Turkey follows the situation closely and is in talks with neighboring countries in case of a migration wave.

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