EU minister, FM slam German vice chancellor, EU for Turkophobic statements

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 30.08.2016 00:40
Updated 30.08.2016 00:41
EU Minister Ömer Çelik
EU Minister Ömer Çelik

EU Minister Çelik strongly criticized German Vice Chancellor Gabriel, saying that his statements reflect a Turkophobic stance. In addition, FM Çavuşoğlu slammed the EU for applying double standards to Turkey

Turkey's EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik slammed German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for saying that he did not see Turkey joining the EU during his political career and describing Gabriel's statement as an expression of "europhobic opinions."

The vice chancellor said Sunday that "Even if you're very optimistic about my political career, I certainly do not see Turkey becoming a member of the EU," going on to say that the bloc would not be in a position to take Turkey even if Ankara met all the EU entry requirements tomorrow.

Taking to Twitter in response to Gabriel's statement on Monday, Minister Çelik said that Gabriel's statements are not based on objective criteria and cannot reflect the EU's position on Turkey. ''These are europhobic opinions. Such opinions make the EU susceptible to serious risks regarding its future,'' Çelik added, going on to say that Turkey has nothing to worry about in the future despite Gabriel's statements, adding, "yet, it would be right to be concerned about the future of the EU."

The minister concluded his remarks saying, ''It is not good for a politician to center his comments around a reference to his own political career. The EU must first judge itself honestly and objectively in a time when discrimination, xenophobia and Islamophobia are rampant. If the EU keeps failing these tests on democracy and pluralism, then Turkey definitely does not want to be a part of it."

At a news conference alongside his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday that representatives of EU states. who are lecturing Turkey on the meaning of democracy and the freedom of assembly, should apply the same approach with the Turkish populations in European countries, noting that they must avoid falling to hypocrisy.

"Those who try to lecture Turkey on democracy and the freedom of assembly should also not forget that Turkish populations living in those particular countries also have the right to support Turkey's democracy and the freedom of assembly through peaceful means. Such EU countries should not prevent this from happening."

Germany's highest court previously decided to prevent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from addressing a rally in the German city of Cologne in July where tens of thousands of Turks who live in that country flocked to show their solidarity with their compatriots and condemning the July 15 coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

The decision not to allow President Erdoğan to speak came as a surprise compared to the Sept. 3, 2011 decision by German authorities to allow the then-senior PKK commander Murat Karayılan to address a crowd during a cultural festival. Germany, along with the entire EU and U.S., recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization. Germany also remains one of the prime destinations for FETÖ and PKK members who flee prosecution for crimes in Turkey.

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