German FM's remarks strengthen racist elements, EU Minister Çelik says

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 23.08.2017 23:46
Updated 23.08.2017 23:47
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 16.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 16.

Stressing that the Republic of Turkey and President Erdoğan are indispensible, Çelik said that Gabriel's statements aimed at Erdoğan were are beyond abdication of reason

Turkey's EU Minister Ömer Çelik has slammed German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's recent remarks calling on Europe to support the opposition against Erdoğan. Çelik said the statements aimed at President Erdoğan were beyond abdication of reason. On his official Twitter account yesterday, Çelik wrote: "Gabriel is only giving a message to racists that they are 'right' by seeking to sabotage the relation between Turkey and the European Union (EU). We know very well the underlying causes of the far-right, fascist, and anti-Islamic groups' enmity towards Turkey and its President."

"Gabriel would know that his remarks on Turkey do not reflect the reality. He does not make true statements but talks by copying from the far-right or far-left," he added.

Stressing that the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish president were indispensable, Çelik wrote, "It is beyond Gabriel's authority to evaluate these issues."

Earlier on Aug. 21, the German foreign minister said Berlin and Europe should support the "democratic" Turks who oppose President Erdoğan.

"More than half the country is democratic minded. They didn't support him," said Gabriel referring to the results of the April 16 referendum.

"While they express their admiration of President Erdoğan when talking face to face, it has become their habit to make exact opposite statements in front of the press," Çelik wrote on Twitter.

Speaking about Gabriel's statements during his visit to the Ceyhan Chamber of Commerce in Adana Aug. 23 the minister said: "By calling the 51 percent, who voted "Yes," an authoritarian group and the 49 percent as democrats and advocates of freedom, they are trying to polarize Turkey."

Çelik added that this analysis was completely false.

He also dismissed Gabriel's claim saying German citizens would be arrested in Turkey. He said this was devoid of truth and stressed that there was no problem between the people Germany and Turkey.

"A great number of German citizens have settled in Antalya and other places of Turkey, and we welcome this." he said.

Çelik said they will not tolerate this kind of assault on Turkey's democracy and stressed that Turkey expects that its values will be respected by others.

He also criticized the German foreign minister for using derogatory language towards President Erdoğan.

"Our president represents the unity of our nation; disrespecting him means disrespecting the people of Turkey and the nation itself," Çelik said.

Amid escalating tension between Ankara and Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Justice Minister Heiko Maas recently jointly wrote an article titled, "There is no place for Erdoğan's culture war in Germany."

The article, published in German weekly Der Spiegel on Aug. 22, claimed that President Erdoğan poses a danger to the democratic culture and called for increased supervision of organizations and mosques are close to Erdoğan.

Gabriel and Maas also claimed that the Turkish government might try to mislead Turks living in Germany via media. They also stressed that the alleged dangers posed by Erdoğan should not be underestimated.

Meanwhile, Turkey's EU Minister Çelik has left the doors open for dialogue with German politicians, calling on them to hold talks in order to reach solutions.

Speaking in Adana, Çelik also touched upon European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn's recent remarks calling for a new Turkey policy and asserted that Hahn was following the agenda of the Austrian foreign minister and not acting in line with the principles of European Commission.

"Unfortunately it is a grave mistake from that kind of position to produce agenda as that of the deputy foreign minister of Austria while using the title of European commissioner for enlargement," Çelik said.

Hahn had said that "Ankara is apparently not willing to revise its course, which takes it further and further away from Europe."

The commissioner called for a change in the EU's Turkey policy saying that shrugging alone is not a political strategy, in the long run, implying going hard line against Turkey.

Upon Hahn's the remarks, claiming Turkey is moving away from Europ, Çelik stressed that Turkey is a European country, not a guest in Europe. The minister underlined that Turkey is willing to be a member of EU. However, he also added that the relations in this regard should be objective and depend on justice.

"The interference of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a national election campaign, as well as requests for extradition regarding alleged political opponents, is unacceptable," Hahn told in an interview to Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Ankara considers the current tension with Europe is stemming from the upcoming elections in these countries. Commenting on the ongoing row, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 18 said that the race for votes has fueled the crisis between Ankara and Berlin.

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