EU's Mogherini 'very surprised' at Turkish President Erdoğan's comments on detentions
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. AA photoEU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Dec. 15 she was "surprised" after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing mass detentions targeting media.
"I've seen the reaction from President Erdoğan and I'm very surprised," said Mogherini, pointing out that Erdoğan's call for the EU to "mind its own business" came just a week after she visited Turkey for talks with him.
Mogherini said she and her EU colleagues had then had "very constructive" talks with Erdoğan and both sides had understood there was a "chance for a new start" with a new executive in Brussels and a new government in Ankara.
Members of the government, she said, even pointed out that Turkish efforts to join the EU were not so much about economic interests but about the values of democracy and the rule of law.
"I believe it is in the Turkish interest to be consistent with this commitment," she added.
"There is this will to work on this new start otherwise we would not have paid this visit. The idea was and still is that of working in a consistent and coherent way on the EU accession," Mogherini said.
Turkish police on Dec. 14 arrested over two dozen people, including the editor-in-chief of daily Zaman and other media figures.
Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn condemned the police raids as going "against the European values," adding that they were "incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy."
In a television speech Monday, Erdoğan said "the European Union cannot interfere in steps taken ... within the rule of law against elements that threaten our national security."
He added: "They should mind their own business."
The president of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, told the legislative body in the French city of Strasbourg that "we are worried" about a development that "carries a danger."
"One has to be able to present arguments and counter-arguments in freedom without being intimidated and without the risk of being jailed when one is a journalist," Schulz said.
"We are going to observe with great concern what is happening in Turkey," he added.