Italian far-right, Eurosceptic leader wants to quit EU if Turkey enters

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.11.2015 14:58
Forza Italia party (PDL) leader Silvio Berlusconi (C) stands with Northern League leader Matteo Salvini (R) and Fratelli D'Italia leader Giorgia Meloni (L) during a Northern League rally in Bologna, central Italy, November 8, 2015. (Reuters Photo)
Forza Italia party (PDL) leader Silvio Berlusconi (C) stands with Northern League leader Matteo Salvini (R) and Fratelli D'Italia leader Giorgia Meloni (L) during a Northern League rally in Bologna, central Italy, November 8, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right, regionalist and anti-immigrant North League (Lega Nord), was angered by the outcome of Sunday's EU summit which anticipates giving 3 billion euro aid for Syrian refugees in Turkey, while re-energizing Turkey's EU acceleration.

"From Europe to Turkey a gift of 3 BLN for immigrants. Some also would like to see the same Turkey join the EU. If they enter let us leave!" Salvini tweeted. Many users hailed Salvini's words, while many others, joined by Turkish users, criticized his stance.

The deal aims to share Turkey's burden, which hosts more than 2.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees, while establishing an effective immigration control mechanism to prevent the massive flow experienced over the summer of 2015. Italy, along with Greece, is among the countries that were negatively affected by this flow. Salvini interpreted the deal as a 'gift', rather than a tool to help Turkey carry its current load and ease the load of European countries.

Salvini, a political party leader in NATO and EU member Italy, also criticized Turkey earlier for the downing of a Russian jet violating its airspace on November 24.

Lega Nord advocates greater autonomy, at times independence, for northern regions of Italy – named Padania, which have been more developed and industrialized than the southern half of the country since the 16th century.

On a different note, Italy's Defense Minister Roberta Pinnotti said Sunday Turkey's accession process in the European Union while the country was willing to become a member was a "historic mistake."

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