President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the European Union (EU) over its repeated threat of sanctions, warning that Turkey would “open the gates” for more Islamic State militants to be sent to Europe.
“I have said this before. You may be underestimating these (warnings). These gates will open.
“These Daesh members have started to be sent to you and will be (sent),” Erdogan said, using a derogatory Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
He added: “Then you are on your own.”
Erdogan was responding to a question on the EU preparing sanctions against Turkey over its gas drilling off Cyprus.
“Do not even attempt to threaten Turkey regarding these developments in Cyprus.
“Reconsider the stance you take against Turkey which holds so many Daesh members in jails, and keeps those on the Syrian side under control,” Erdogan told reporters, after warning the EU to check its treatment of a country that hosts 4 million refugees.
He also criticised the bloc for stalling on accession talks and breaking its promises to Turkey.
“They say, ‘We will impose sanctions’. You have already been imposing sanctions on us since 1959, 1963.
“You have constantly stalled Turkey … But you never kept the promises you made,” the Turkish leader said.
He said Turkey could end accession negotiations “in an instant”.
“Hey European Union … Turkey is different from the countries you have known so far.
“Being at this negotiating table is not binding for us,” he said.
Accession started talks in 2005, but relations soured after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey and an ensuing crackdown.