Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday warned the EU that it should crackdown on "Islamophobia" amid rising anti-Muslim protests instead of trying to teach Turkey lessons about democracy, Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper reported.
"Believe me it is regrettable that the EU is trying teach Turkey a lesson instead of trying to tackle the very serious threats it is facing," he said.
Erdogan said racist, discriminatory activities and Islamophobia were on the rise in Europe, complaining that racist organisations won sympathy in some Western societies. "Islamophobia, which we constantly draw attention to and warn of, represents a serious threat in Europe," he said.
"If the issue is not dealt with seriously today, and if populism takes European politicians captive, the EU and European values will come into question," he added.
His comments came a day after controversial German group PEGIDA rallied thousands of people in Dresden for a demonstration against what it calls the "Islamisation of the Occident".
Erdogan told the ambassadors Turkey needed to see itself as a great country. "Turkey is not a country which anyone can accuse by wagging their finger in big arrogance. Those who have such habits should abandon them," he stressed.
"Those who shake their finger and reprimand Turkey must see that they are dealing with a new Turkey, big Turkey, with its economy, democracy and foreign policy."
Erdogan called on the EU to "revise its Turkey policy", accusing Europe of dragging its feet on Ankara's decade-old membership bid to the 28-member bloc.