Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused EU politicians Kati Piri, Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn of being enemies of Islam while criticizing a recent report adopted by the EU in favor of the official freeze of the membership process with Turkey, according to Turkish media reports on Friday.
During a recent interview on the pro-government Ülke TV, Erdoğan was asked about remarks by Piri, the Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament (EP), against the conversion of the Hagia Sophia in İstanbul into a mosque.
In response, he said: “There is no need to talk about that woman in the EP, anyway. Let’s not spread her propaganda. … They advise [the EU] to stop accession talks with us. I wish they had done such a thing and stopped the accession talks. Our foreign minister made the necessary explanations at the meeting there to [EU foreign affairs chief] Mogherini, then to that woman [Piri] and to the Austrian [Hahn], to all of them. But they are not honest, they are not sincere. We should not forget this: We are Muslims and they are enemies of Islam.”
In a vote on March 13, EU lawmakers voted 370 in favor and 109 against, with 143 abstentions, for an official freeze of the membership process, which would jeopardize some EU funding.
EU governments have the final say in any suspension.
Erdoğan’s remarks attracted criticism from Piri, who told Euronews on Friday that Erdoğan is acting like a populist politician. She said Erdoğan is trying to pit people against each other by claiming that the West and the European Union are enemies of Islam. Piri said Erdoğan is laying the groundwork for massacres.