No one can lecture Turkey about human rights: Turkey's Erdoğan
“No one can lecture our country about democracy, human rights and freedom,” Erdoğan said, criticizing the French government’s attitude toward the countrywide “Yellow Vest” protests.
His remarks came on the 70th anniversary of the U.N.’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Those who criticized us on human rights issues during Gezi Park protests became deaf and mute about what’s been happening in Paris. You raised the entire world during the Gezi Park protests. Do the same now as well. But they won’t, because they lack honest and sincerity,” said Erdoğan.
Erdoğan also said colonialists had stayed silent in the face of “those starving in Africa.” “We are not placed on top of lists on humanitarian aid, because we are wealthy. It’s because we have hearts of gold,” he added.
The president said Turkey became more aware on human rights issues during the period of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “Turkey has taken the most important steps regarding democracy during the period of the AKP,” he stated.
While recalling the 2016 coup attempt, Erdoğan said: “No Turkish citizen receives ill-treatment due to their ethnic background, the way they dress or their opinion.”
“Those who spoke out against Turkey’s democracy at every chance possible are now facing their own trials. Now, nobody has the guts to lecture Turkey about democracy,” he said.
Turkish FM criticizes press on France protests
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Dec. 9 echoed similar criticisms over the protests in France. Çavuşoğlu said he was against vandalism, but criticized the excessive force used by the French police against protestors and questioned the EU’s stance towards France. He called the European press’ stance on the protests a “disaster.”
Speaking at an Antalya Association of Journalists awards ceremony, Turkey’s top diplomat commented on the recent protests in France.
“We have never supported vandalism. When we witnessed vandalism in our country, we saw these [European] countries strongly supporting it through NGOs, politicians and press. Turkey remained on the agenda every day. Today, there are demonstrations in France. We see them going extreme occasionally. We are against vandalism, but the excessive force used by the French police is truly a lesson. The attitude of the European Union and countries is also a lesson. The press attitude in this context is a total disaster. That’s what we call ‘double standards.’ That’s what we call hypocrisy,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu pointed out that the other European countries didn’t raise much criticism to the police violence as they viewed France as an EU member with whom they felt they must be in solidarity with.
He added that France should be criticized for enforcing policies violating the standards and values of the EU.
The Turkish foreign minister went on to say that, despite the recent protests in Europe, the continent was still the most stable place in comparison with the world, saying that he hoped protests would come to an end very soon.
“We don’t want the economies of these [European] countries to be damaged. We are part of this continent as well and it is true that there are problems and issues we are uncomfortable with. However, it is still the most stable, safe and economically-developed continent compared with the world. We want it to remain that way and advance even further, which will be to our benefit as well,” he said.