President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has accused the top EU court of commencing a struggle between the “Christian cross and the Muslim crescent” following a ruling that allows companies to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols.
“Where is the liberty of religion? They have commenced a struggle between the cross and crescent. There is no other explanation than this. I am saying this clearly: Europe is heading toward the days just before World War II,” Erdoğan said March 16 at a rally in Sakarya.
The European Court of Justice ruled on March 14 to allow companies to ban employees from wearing the Islamic headscarf, “but only as part of prohibitions including other religious and political symbols.”
Referring to the parliamentary elections in Netherlands, which resulted in Mark Rutte’s re-election as the Dutch prime minister, Erdoğan said the recent diplomatic crisis with the Netherlands over the expulsion of Turkish politicians had harmed mutual relations.
“O Rutte! You may have been first in the elections, but you have lost a friend like Turkey,” Erdoğan said.
“[They said] we may have a dinner with the prime minister. There is no such prime minister here. Give it up. You have lost,” he added.
The 3 million Turkish-origin people residing in European countries have the power to elect 30 lawmakers in Turkey, he said.
“How one can ignore such a power? What harm could there be in a politician going there to carry out an election campaign?” he asked, accusing European countries of promoting outlawed organizations while not permitting the government to campaign.
Erdoğan also said Turkey would not comply with the migrant readmission agreement and with the European Union.
“They have promised to remove visas. Now they are talking about a readmission plan. What readmission? Get over it! You did not let my minister enter the Netherlands, you did not give permission to my foreign minister to fly to the country and did not let the minister get into the consulate building, which is my territory. Then you are expecting readmission? There is no such thing,” Erdoğan said.