Turkey slams EU vote as ‘most un­just in his­tory’

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Turkey’s EU Af­fairs Min­is­ter Omer Ce­lik yes­ter­day 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. — AFP

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