Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik on Tuesday dismissed a European Parliament vote to freeze accession talks with Ankara as the "most unjust resolution in history" and urged solidarity instead.
During a visit to Brussels, Celik sought to ease tensions exacerbated by the non-binding vote last week to halt Turkey's membership process over its "disproportionate" crackdown since July's failed coup.
"Turkey is a big country, a magnificent country and the people of this country live in pluralism. They stand up for democracy," Celik told both European and Turkish journalists.
"The European Parliament's taking this resolution against such a society is the most unjust resolution in history," he said trying to clear up what he sees as EU misperceptions. "Today, now is the time for solidarity."
Ahead of talks with the European Commission's First Vice President Frans Timmermans and other officials, Celik renewed charges that the EU failed to show sympathy with a democratic country rocked by the deadly July 15 coup attempt.
"Please try to empathise with us," he pleaded.
But the parliamentary vote underscored growing European concerns over rights and democracy in Turkey, especially over the coup crackdown that has seen almost 37,000 arrested.
Turkey formally applied to become an EU member in 1987 and accession talks only began in 2005, even though Ankara's aspirations to become part of the bloc dates back to the 1960s.
"If there were objective, fair negotiations... then there is no reason why Turkey would not be a full member state today," Celik said.
The parliament vote escalated tensions with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who threatened to retaliate by rupturing a March deal that has sharply reduced the flow of migrants to Europe.
Erdogan on Tuesday said his country has not yet given up on its ambition to join the EU but has "many other alternatives" if the stalled process goes nowhere.
Apart from Timmermans, Celik is also due to meet EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and security commissioner Julian King.