EU failed to show empathy with Turkey after coup attempt: Former Swedish FM Bildt
Cansu Çamlıbel - ISTANBUL
HÜRRİYET photoThe European Union made a mistake by not showing empathy with Ankara immediately after the failed coup attempt of July 15, former Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has said.
“I wrote very early on that there was an astonishing lack of empathy with Turkey in the immediate days after the coup attempt. That was regrettable. I think that was a mistake by the European Union,” Bildt said in an interview with daily Hürriyet ahead of a high-level visit by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) to the Turkish capital this week.
“I said in public that it would have been appropriate for a senior leader of the EU, or several of them, to go to Ankara to pay homage at the parliament and to meet the president and the prime minister, as well as leaders of all the political parties, to sit down and see what we can do together to help Turkey’s democratic consolidation. But that did not happen,” he added.
Bildt suggested that the beginning of intensive visits to Ankara by EU officials in recent days was a sign of Brussels trying to repair its mistake.
He also stressed that the consequences would have been “catastrophic” for Turkey, the region and for all of Europe if the attempted military takeover had succeeded. The former Swedish foreign minister said the coup attempt was not against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan only but targeted the entire state structure and democracy of Turkey itself.
Bildt had previously criticized the EU’s lukewarm response to the thwarting of the coup attempt.
“EU ambassadors in solidarity with attacked parliament in Ankara. Nearly a month after. Well, better late than never,” Bildt tweeted on Aug. 17 during a visit by EU ambassadors, the first high-level visit from Brussels since the coup attempt.
A delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA) later paid a visit to Ankara on Aug. 16.
Ankara has strongly criticized the European Union and other European bodies, complaining that they did not display genuine support and were late to visit the country after the failed coup attempt.