‘First God, then comes nation,’ Turkish culture minister says at German rally
DÜSSELDORF – Anadolu Agency
The rally in Düsseldorf was part of the 'respect of the national will' counter-demonstrations to the Gezi Park protests. AA photo
Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik decried “junta and assassination plots” against the government during a mass rally today in Germany as part of counter-demonstrations to the Gezi Park protests, while saying God came before the nation.
“You brought the AKP [Justice and Development Party] to power in 2002 to establish your will and your vision. We have gone through junta plots and assassination plots against the AKP. But we all know: First God, then comes the nation,” Çelik said, addressing thousands of supporters gathered in the capital of the industrial state of North-Rhine Westphalia.
“If you believe and know that first comes God and then there is the nation, nobody can divert you from your path,” Çelik said, accusing the opposition of expecting coups.
Çelik attended the rally together with his successor as the AKP’s deputy head in charge of foreign policy, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and Istanbul deputy Metin Külünç.
Turkish PM gives video message
Çelik also criticized European countries for shying away from calling the military takeover in Egypt a “coup,” as the crowd chanted the name of the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
He said that because Turkish people were familiar with military coups, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had given the message of “not stepping back.”
“Some are hiding behind democratic movements. Those always wait in ambush. In Turkey as well, dark forces instantly appeared behind those who showed up to demonstrate with their democratic sensibilities,” Çelik said in an apparent reference to the protest triggered by the attempt to cut down trees in Istanbul’s central Gezi Park.
Following his remarks, Çelik gave the floor to Erdoğan, who also sent a message of support to the toppled ruler of Egypt in a video message.
“We don’t respect those who do not respect the people’s will because we paid the price a lot. We don’t want our Egyptian brothers to pay the same price,” Erdoğan said while expressing his “unlimited love” for Egypt’s people.
The Turkish government not only adopted a strong stance against the military takeover in Egypt, but also to countries that did not condemn it, especially the European Union.
The AKP had been strongly slammed by many EU countries due to its uncompromising attitude during the Gezi Park protests. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s criticism had sparked a livid reaction as Berlin had tried to postpone the opening of the first chapter in Turkey’s EU negotiations in two-and-a-half years.
Tension peaked between both countries as the foreign ministries summoned each others’ ambassadors. The disagreements cooled down following several talks between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his counterpart, Guido Westerwelle.