Turkish president Reccep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed "rising Islamophobic and racist trends" in Europe for delaying his country's entry to the European Union, during a speech s speaking in Turkey on 24 June.
The president said, "With rising Islamophobic and racist trends in Europe, no one can say Europe is not Islamophobic. Look, I am saying right now, the practice currently against Turkey is Islamophobic. That is why they are delaying taking us in."
Turkey first began EU accession talks in 2005, but have made little progress. Some member states, including Austria and Germany, are concerned about the large country, partly down to Ankara's record on basic freedoms in recent years.
Erdogan also gave his opinion on how Britain leaving the EU could affect the bloc. The UK voted for Brexit on 23 June.
He said, "The immigrant crisis and the UK's decision to leave should raise questions about the EU's attitude and consistency. If the EU does this questioning sincerely and will do what is necessary, then Turkey will take its place in the union. If the European Union deepens its inconsistencies and continues on its path, in a short time it will be inevitable for it to face new exits."
Erdogan recently called for a Brexit-style referendum on whether Turkey should continue to negotiate with European Union. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Economic Community (EEC) since 1963.