‘Know your limits,’ Erdoğan tells European Parliament
ISTANBULPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the European Parliament to know its “limits” on Nov. 26, which came after a non-binding motion passed last week in the European Parliament that urged a freeze in the European Union’s accession talks with Turkey.
“Saying ‘don’t fight terrorism’ to a country who fights against terror every day is to tell them to put up the shutters. Are you [European Parliament] inviting terrorist groups?” he said.
Adopted on Thursday by 479 votes in favor, 37 against, and 107 abstentions, the European Parliament’s motion decided for “the [European] Commission and the member states to initiate a temporary freeze of the ongoing accession negotiations with Turkey.”
In the motion, members of the European Parliament strongly condemned the “disproportionate repressive measures” taken by the Turkish government since the July 15 failed coup attempt and said it “violates basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution.”
“The government and parliament can extend the length of the state of emergency. What’s it to you? Does the European Parliament rule this country or the government [of Turkey]? Know your limits! Those days are over,” Erdoğan said. Turkey is in its second three-month term of its state of emergency that came after the foiled coup attempt and a series of terror attacks.
Erdoğan said Turkey would continue to “go its way no matter what they say,” in accordance with its centennial independence anniversary ambitions of 2023.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also urged European leaders on Nov. 26 to “decide on whom to cooperate with,” demanding them to make a choice between his country and “terrorist groups.”
“First of all, the EU should decide on whether it will ally with Turkey or terrorist organizations that are freely wandering around Europe. The Turkish nation is waiting for this [decision]. You will always say that ‘Turkey is key for Europe’s security’ but then will ally with terrorist organizations that are trying to dissolve Turkey. We will never accept this,” he said at the Istanbul Health Expo.
“Bear in mind that Turkey is a country that welcomes and provides a safe haven for millions of refugees fleeing their homes due to the human tragedy in Syria and Iraq. Watch what would have happened in Europe if Turkey had not protected these refugees. Humanity is in Turkey. Turkey is the country where humanity has not died.”
Yıldırım also said the EU would not care about the European Parliament’s decision to call for a freeze in talks for his country’s accession to the bloc.
“I hope there still are leaders in Europe who will not want to damage half a century old EU-Turkey relations,” he added.
Meanwhile, another statement on the issue came from the president of the European Commission, who said that Turkey should heed EU warnings over halting membership talks and carry out reforms demanded by the bloc. Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Parliament’s vote to suspend talks with Ankara should not be underestimated because, although not binding, “it will produce effects in the capitals,” of EU states that decide on membership.
Speaking to Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique, Juncker also dismissed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threats to end a refugee deal with the EU that has sharply reduced the flow of migrants to Europe from the Middle East and Asia.
He urged Erdoğan to carry out necessary reforms, starting with an overhaul of anti-terrorism legislation, if he wants Turkish citizens to get visa-free travel to the EU - a concession that is part of the refugee deal.