Erdoğan: If EU continues its two-faced actions, Turkey might go its own way

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.02.2019 00:26

If the European Union insists on its two-faced actions, Turkey might have to go its own way, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, referring to the union's silence over the death penalty in Egypt.

"Although they claim that they are against the death penalty, they do not hesitate to come side to side with a man who put 42 people to death," the president said during a televised interview on Tuesday, pointing to Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's brutal actions.

He added that as a result of these actions Turkey may part its ways with the union.

Last Wednesday, Egypt executed nine men convicted of carrying out a car bomb attack in 2015 that killed the country's chief prosecutor. Six other people were also executed earlier this month. Three of them were convicted of assassinating a police officer and three others in connection with the murder of the son of a judge. Despite ongoing international condemnation, the governments of the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and the U.K., aiming to maintain close relations with Egypt in order to protect their interests in the region, have refrained from making any statements about the executions. In addition, while the executions were causing an uproar, European leaders gathered for a two-day summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, focused mainly on Egypt's "fight against terrorism" rather than the unjust sentences and its worsening human rights record.

Egyptian courts have issued hundreds of death sentences since 2013, when the former military chief and now president, el-Sissi, ousted the country's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi in a coup. Since 2015, the number of executions in Egypt has surged to an unprecedented level, according to rights activists that are concerned that more innocent Egyptians, many of them members of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be subject to unfair executions.

Erdoğan also bashed the European Parliament's decision to accept a draft advisory report on Turkey, which called for the suspension of EU accession negotiations with the country.

"These decisions have no valuable meaning for us," Erdoğan underlined.

The report is expected to be voted on by the entire European Parliament in mid-March. "The call in the draft report, which is not legally binding and bears only the status of an advisory decision, to officially suspend our country's accession negotiations with the EU is absolutely unacceptable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said last week.

In October, Erdoğan said he would consider putting Turkey's long-stalled bid to join the European Union to a referendum, signaling exasperation with a process he says has been waylaid by prejudice against Muslims. Turkey says EU membership remains one of its top strategic goals even though the accession talks, formally launched in 2004, have been stalled for years due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.

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