During the height of the migrant crisis Ankara took on 3.4 million refugees headed for Europe at the behest of Brussels in return for aid cash, visa authorisation and the promise of membership.
But Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim went on to claim the EU’s side of the bargain was “a big big lie”.
He went on to tell express.co.uk that despite the “regret” that comes with joining the Brussels bloc, his country would still push ahead with plans to become a full member state.
Mr Yildirim said: “We are currently welcoming 3.5million refugees in Turkey – what happens if we were to tell them ‘ok, here’s Europe, off we go?’, Can you imagine what can happen?
“But of course its not a behaviour we will display it is not befitting of us, it is not in compliance with how seriously we see this issue to use these people as a potential threat to Europe.
“We had the agreement of the 18th March, 2016 with the EU. We were supposedly going to deal with all of these issues, the Visa authorisation would come, assistance would flow from the EU and the EU would take some refugees, that was what it was about.
“But it turns out that was a big, big lie and we left that negotiating table and after that Turkey was left to its own devices to figure out these matters for itself.“
Relations between Turkey and the EU have remained fractious since President Erdogan saw off a failed coup to oust him from power last year by pushing ahead with increasingly autocratic rule across his nation.
Meanwhile Ankara has heaped scorn on Brussels following the bloc’s shift in direction towards an “ever closer union”.
But despite decrying the “regret” that comes with joining the EU, the Mr Yildirim said Turkey will still push ahead with their plan to join the 27-nation superstate.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “If you become a member of the EU that’s a source of regret for you and if you leave the EU you also end up regretting that.
“So the UK, a member state is now exiting and we are trying to enter, I think we have a lot to exchange between the two of us.”
It comes as UK and Turkish officials meet to hash out a post-brexit trade agreement as Theresa May’s government look to forge a new era of international relations.
Speaking in London following meetings with Mrs May and Boris Johnson, Mr Yildirim said talks to forge a new deal were well underway – and were taking place “simultaneously” UK negotiates with the EU
He added: “I mean it’s not like we will wait for the UK to finish Brexit and say ‘oh let’s see what happens’ – no.
“That is not the kind of approach we have in mind, that would be wrong.
“Because of this, work has already started on it, and it had to start.
“This way we will make sure that, in a gradual manner, we will be paving the way into a free trade agreement.”