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Europe Day: Türkiye’s president concerned over eroding confidence in European values amid Gaza crisis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday expressed concern over eroding confidence in European values, particularly as a result of policies during the Gaza crisis, and highlighted pressing human rights and justice issues on the occasion of Europe Day.

In a speech marking Europe Day on May 9, President Erdogan emphasized that the day not only symbolizes Europe’s inception of political and economic unity, but also honors the culmination of extensive collective endeavors for peace and stability over decades, according to a statement issued by the Turkish Communications Directorate.

“However, numerous challenges such as wars, conflicts, terrorist acts, irregular migration, and climate change, both globally and in our immediate region, threaten order on the European continent.

“The escalating Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism across the continent are among the greatest concerns for both our citizens living in Europe and immigrants. Discrimination and hate crimes against the European Turkish Community are becoming increasingly commonplace,” he stated.

Erdogan highlighted that certain European institutions’ and countries’ policies during the Gaza crisis, which resulted in the deaths of 35,000 Palestinians, including 15,000 children, have undermined confidence in European values.

“As crises, conflicts, and wars affecting Europe and our shared geography remain unresolved, questioning of these values will continue to grow,” he added.

In the present geopolitical landscape, he urged Europe to prioritize inclusive, cooperation-oriented, and equitable policies across the broader European region and the Mediterranean Basin, emphasizing their significance for the continent’s future.

“At this critical juncture, where the momentum of enlargement policy has increased, it is high time for our country and the EU to enhance cooperation in all fields, including accession negotiations, which form the basis of our relationship, and to solidify it on a stronger foundation.

“It is vital for the EU to conduct its relations with our country within the framework of the principle of good faith and with a fair and results-oriented approach, avoiding policies and rhetoric that deadlock our relations,” Erdogan added.

The president also warned the EU that Türkiye will not hesitate to use its strategic power against exclusionary policies that affect both Türkiye and the EU.

“I would like to reiterate our readiness to work together for a more prosperous, more cohesive, more open Europe in which our country can take its rightful place. With these words, I congratulate all Europeans, especially our citizens, on Europe Day, May 9th,” he said.