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Erdoğan says west cares more about gay and animal rights than Syria

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has criticised western countries, saying they care more about gay rights and animal welfare than the fate of conflict-stricken Syrians.

Addressing a large crowd in north-west Turkey, Erdoğan also accused the west of possessing a mindset “remnant of slavery and colonialism”.

His latest anti-western outburst came on Friday amid a standoff with the EU over its demand that Turkey amend its anti-terrorism laws to secure visa-free travel in Europe for Turkish citizens.

Erdoğan said: “Shame on those who don’t show sensitivity … to the women and children who reach out to them for help. Shame on those who deny the sensitivity they show to … the whales, the seals and the turtles in the sea to 23 million Syrians.”

The European commission has said it made its offer of visa-free travel dependent on Ankara rewriting its anti-terrorism laws because they were used to prosecute journalists and government critics.

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