ISTANBUL - Turkey's economy minister condemned the European Union on Tuesday as the most hypocritical organization in the world, in vitriolic remarks which underlined the EU candidate country's growing alienation from Brussels.
Turkey's bid to join the bloc has virtually ground to a halt in recent years due to opposition from core EU members and the failure to find a solution to the dispute over the divided island of Cyprus.
Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said it made him laugh when he heard the EU had won the Nobel Peace Prize last week for promoting peace, democracy and human rights over six decades.
"The EU is the most two-faced union of all time. It is the most hypocritical organization in the world. This EU has kept Turkey waiting at its door for 50 years," state-run Anatolian news agency reported Caglayan as saying.
He attacked the EU for imposing visa requirements on Turkish business visitors and quotas on goods, describing this as a "a crime against humanity" and "torture" and condemned the award of the Nobel prize to a body responsible for unfair competition.
"If you award the EU with a prize for duplicity or hypocrisy, rather than one for peace, then we'd say fair enough, we accept that," he said.