Turkey’s president on Thursday accused the EU’s top court of starting a “crusade” against Islam after a ruling allowing European companies to ban employees from wearing religious or political symbols including the Islamic headscarf.
“The European Union’s court, The European Court of Justice, my esteemed brothers, have started a crusade struggle against the (Muslim) crescent,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech,
“Where is freedom of religion?” he said, referring to the court ruling this week.
“Shame on your European Union acquis!” Erdogan said, referring to EU law. “Shame on your values. Shame on your law and justice!”
“Europe is swiftly rolling back to the days before World War II,” he added.
The European Court of Justice said it does not constitute “direct discrimination” if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of “any political, philosophical or religious sign”.
The response came as Turkey is locked in a mighty row with Germany, the Netherlands and other EU states over the blocking of Turkish officials from holding rallies abroad in the campaign for a referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.
Turkey last month said it was lifting a historic ban on female officers wearing the Islamic headscarf in the country’s officially secular armed forces, the last institution where the wearing of the garment was forbidden.