Describing the European Union as “the alliance of crusaders,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday called on people to respond to the EU in a referendum on April 16, news website t24 reported.
“I was saying something about the EU. Now it has been proven that I am right. They went to the Vatican, submissively sat down, listened to the Pope [Francis]. Do you get why they have not accepted Turkey as a member for 54 years? This is totally an alliance of crusaders,” said Erdoğan during a referendum campaign rally in Ankara.
“April 16 will at the same time be the day of evaluating this decision. Because we sat down around the table with them and talked. They always lied. They lied and lied over again,” added Erdoğan.
Pope Francis received 27 European Union heads of state and government at a private audience in the Vatican’s Sala Regia on March 24. The meeting, which was attended by Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, took place on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.
Reacting to European leaders not allowing Justice and Development Party (AKP) government ministers to campaign in their countries for an upcoming referendum, Erdoğan said: “You will not be able to change the direction of April 16 by not banning my politicians. God willing, are you ready to give lessons to European leaders, except with the exception of a few of them?”