15:13 GMT +324 May 2018
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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech

    Erdogan: 'Europe Will Answer for Their Treatment of Turks Following Referendum'

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    Turkey will soon hold the Europeans to account for their unfair treatment of the Middle-Eastern country, Turkish Presidet Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday at a rally in Izmir promoting an upcoming nation-wide referendum which would dramatically increase his powers.

    "I expect a high turnout of Turkish citizens living in European countries. Turkish expats have regularly faced injustices and pressure in Europe. But the Turkish people will soon call [those countries] to answer for what they have done. After the April 16 referendum, Turkey will bring Europe to account," President Erdogan said at a rally in the western Turkish city of Izmir.

    Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated significantly in recent months due to the refusal of several European governments, including the Netherlands and Germany, to allow Turkish ministers to hold campaign meetings with local expat communities ahead of the Turkish referendum on constitutional amendments, which if passed would significantly expand President Erdogan's powers. Erdogan compared the authorities in Berlin with Nazis and branded Amsterdam as "Fascists, Nazi remnants".

    Turkey and the European Economic Community (the EU's predecessor) signed an Association Agreement in 1963. Ankara applied to join the community in 1987. Formal talks on Turkey's accession to the EU started in 2005. In March 2016, Ankara's candidacy received a boost after it signed a migration deal with the European Union.

    However, talks have been repeatedly suspended due to various obstacles, including the European Union's objections regarding the clampdown by the Turkish government on those suspected of ties to organizers of the failed coup in July 2016.

    On March 25, as EU officials celebrated the supranatioanl union's 60th birthday, Erdogan said Turkey could hold a referendum on whether it actually needs to further strive to join the bloc.

    On March 17, Erdogan urged Turks living in Europe to have five children and reach prosperity, as they are "the future of Europe."

    On April 2, Erdogan told his supporters that the EU does not want to welcome Turkey in its ranks because "it is a Christian union".


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