EU vote on Turkish membership ‘has no value’: Erdogan

ISTANBUL:President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that the European Parliament's vote Thursday on whether to suspend Turkey's talks on joining the EU has "no value" in Turkish eyes.

"There will be a meeting at the European Parliament tomorrow, and they will vote on EU accession talks with Turkey ... Whatever the result, this vote has no value in our eyes," Erdogan told a summit on Islamic economic cooperation in Istanbul.

"No scale can measure the will of the nation that sacrificed their lives for its independence and democracy during the July 15 coup attempt," he stressed, speaking of a defeated coup that martyred 248 people and injured some 2,200.

Erdogan was speaking at a ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference's (OIC) Standing Committee for Commercial and Economic Cooperation (COMCEC).

The Turkish leader said that Turkey's stability and future battles will not be interrupted by yeas and nays in the European Parliament.

"This nation proved to the entire world on the night of July 15 that it can sacrifice its life for its freedom and dignity if necessary," he said.

Erdogan stated that although the EP vote will not be binding on Turkey, "It is not possible for me to accept the message that is obviously to be given by the EU."

He said that despite exemplifying EU values more than many other countries in the bloc, "our country has not seen real support from the Western countries."

Erdogan also accused the EU of taking sides with terrorist organizations by holding the vote.

Ties between the EU and Turkey have been strained in recent months as Ankara demands that the bloc ends the activities in member states of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.

Controversial 9/11 lawsuit bill

Erdogan also criticized a law the U.S. Congress passed in September allowing American citizens to file lawsuits against Saudi Arabia for any role it played in the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Erdogan called the legislation "illogical," saying that it would punish an entire country because of the presence of terrorists in it.

"Is that possible, that the US Congress dared to take such a decision?" he said.

Erdogan said that similar efforts had targeted Turkey's Kuveyt Turk participation bank, using claims that that the bank supported terrorism.

He said that the OIC cannot stay quiet in the face of such efforts.

"The secretary general of the OIC should please see this, the game is against Islamic countries. They accused us of raising terrorists as if nothing like that has ever happened to them," Erdogan said.

He said that more and more racist attacks and abuses of Muslims happen every day.

"Every day there are attacks on Muslim-owned businesses and associations in Europe," he said. "As Muslims, we need to speak up and raise our hands against this double standard in a democratic way. We will not tolerate this."

Defending Trump

Erdogan also criticized some Western nations for their stances against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

"Trump won the election, then people started calling and labelling him a dictator. Are not you democrats? Is not democracy about the ballot box? Is it not about respecting the result election? Why you do not respect the result of the ballot box? Trump came out on top. Respect it, he said.

The president said when the West calls someone a dictator, the exact opposite is true.

"That person is quite nice, but just conflicts with their interests," Erdogan said, adding that now the world is looking at Trump as a dictator.

"Because they had different plans, but their plans went awry," he said.

Commenting on Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign, Erdogan said they are used to seeing such rhetoric.

"Today they speak this way, but then they correct the mistake," he added.

Trump's controversial pledges included imposing a ban on Muslims coming into the U.S. and religious profiling of American Muslims.

Turkish-U.S. ties have been strained in recent months over two issues: Washington's reluctance to extradite Fetullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and according to Ankara is the mastermind of a bloody failed coup attempt against the Turkish state in July, and U.S. cooperation with PKK-affiliated terror groups on the Turkey-Syria border against Daesh.

The Obama administration has said Gulen's extradition is a judicial procedure that takes time, but Trump's incoming national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, compared Gulen to Osama bin Laden and said he should not be given safe haven.

The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and EU, but Washington sees the PKK's Syrian affiliate PYD and its armed wing YPG as a reliable partner in Syria to fight Daesh, not a terrorist group.

Source: Anadolu Agency