David Cameron has been challenged about the prospect of Turkey joining the European Union on the eve of a major summit in Brussels.
The Prime Minister and fellow EU leaders will be joined by Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a meeting which will be dominated by the migration crisis.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage and senior Tory David Davis issued a warning about Turkey’s ambitions of joining the EU, claiming it would be a risk to British security.
The two leading members of the pro-Brexit Go Movement spoke out ahead of the Brussels meeting, where Mr Davutoglu will come under pressure to do more to prevent migrants crossing his country into EU member Greece.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble said the summit would be a chance to work with Turkey to tackle the migration problem but played down the prospect of the country being admitted to the EU in the near future.
He said Germany had “major doubts” about Turkey becoming a full member of the EU.
He told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “It’ll be a long time before we reach the end of negotiations with Turkey about accession to the European Union.
“Actually the German government has major doubts about whether Turkey should be a full member of the EU, but this is a question for the coming years. It is not a worry at the present time.”
But Farage said: “Turkey wants to join the EU and has the support of Angela Merkel and David Cameron. This illustrates the risk in remaining in the EU: open borders with another 77 million people on top of the open borders that we already have to the entire EU.
“Plainly this is not just stupid, but downright dangerous given the current flow of Islamic State terrorists in the region.
“Staying in the EU with eventual open borders with Turkey would represent a huge risk to Britain’s national security.
“The Prime Minister must be asked why he believes Turkey should join the EU and why the UK should remain in the EU when open borders and EU expansion threaten the cohesion of our society and our national security?”
Former shadow home secretary David Davis highlighted concerns raised by Europol that more than 5,000 EU nationals have been radicalised by fighting with Muslim extremists in Iraq and Syria and many have returned home, warning that admitting Turkey could make the problem worse.
He said: “Giving visa-free access to people carrying Turkish papers will, if anything, make worse the security threat identified by Europol.
“This demonstrates only too clearly why our membership of the EU, far from improving our security, actually puts it at greater risk.”
The summit comes just days after a Turkish court ordered the seizure of the opposition Zaman newspaper, increasing concerns over press freedom in the country. (PA)