With the escalating importance given to the varieties of English in the world, discussions related to the theory and pedagogy of this research area have also received rigorous attention. With the aim of contributing to this area, this study critically examines the culturist and native-speakerist discourses within 90 Turkish pre-service EFL teachers’ accounts of accent and identity. Data collection methods were a questionnaire with both closed-ended and open-ended items and focus group discussions. Findings obtained via the content analysis revealed that most of the pre-service teachers were under the influence of attaining an imagined ‘native’ self and accent for speaking, while the pre-service teachers who felt the need to retain their own identity and accent comprised about one-fourth of them. Nevertheless, in terms of listening to people speak, their preference for a particular ‘native-like’ accent was not heavily emphasised, and they prioritised intelligibility and the idea of ‘language for communication’ over it, while some of them approved of correcting non-mother tongue accents or of tolerating such accents despite not liking them. Lastly, except for one-third of them, they felt the need to make language teachers and students familiar with the varieties of English. Implications and suggestions related to incorporating a non-essentialist and interculturally responsive pedagogy into teacher training and language education programmes are highlighted in line with the discussion of the results and the related literature.