Turkey may stage UK-style referendum
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested Turkey could hold a referendum over whether to continue its long-stalled accession process to join the European Union.
Angrily lashing out at the bloc's treatment of Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey could hold a referendum along the lines of the plebescite in Britain, where voters are deciding Thursday whether to stay in the European Union or leave.
A landmark deal agreed in March between Turkey and the EU was expected to calm tensions and give new momentum to the Turkish membership bid. But the EU is insisting it cannot grant Turkey the key sweetener of visa-free travel to the Schengen area if it does not narrow the scope of its anti-terror laws, something Ankara has refused to do.
Erdogan said Turkey had been promised membership in 1963 but 53 years later nothing had happened. Accusing the Christian-dominated EU of religious bias, he said: "Hey EU! You are just not going to agree to accept us because the big majority of our people are Muslims."
Revealing an incident that Erdogan said he had kept private until now, he claimed a former French foreign minister had told him Turkey was trying "in vain" to join the European Union "because we are Muslims". He did not reveal the identity of the minister.