Turkey's economy minister has lashed out at the EU, calling it "the most hypocritical organisation in the world" because it has repeatedly refused Ankara's attempts to join.
Days after the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its work to promote peace, democracy and human rights, Zafer Çağlayan told local reporters that Brussels' stance towards Turkey is unfair and duplicitous.
"The EU is the most two-faced union of all time," Çağlayan told the state-run Anatolian news agency. "It is the most hypocritical organisation in the world. This EU has kept Turkey waiting at its door for 50 years.
"The Nobel Peace-winning EU puts a quota on Turkish products and trucks and applies visa to Turkish businessmen even though Turkey has signed the Customs Union deal with the union. This shame of EU is a crime against humanity while EU visas do not get applied on Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Montenegro and Ukraine.
"So, I refute the EU's Nobel Peace Prize as it commits a crime against humanity and creates unfair competition in trade. It is not called peace. If you give the EU the prize of hypocrisy, then we will accept it."
Turkey began talks on joining the EU in 2005 but has only completed one of 35 policy "chapters" every accession candidate must conclude.
Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not mention the EU at his ruling AK Party congress at the end of last month. According to Turkey's Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis, Erdogan chose not to refer to Europe as a "message to the narrow-minded politicians of Europe".