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DIPLOMACY >Turkey to sit and talk with EU after charter referendum: Erdoğan

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Turkey could review relations with Europe after the April 16 charter referendum following unprecedented tensions between Ankara and Brussels, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 21.

“Once April 16 is over, we will sit at the table. This cannot continue this way. We, as Turkey, will do what is necessary,” he said in Ankara.

Turkey and Europe are at loggerheads with Ankara accusing some European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands of “Nazi methods” by banning the rallies of Turkish ministers ahead of the charter vote.

“We will ask for an account from the Netherlands of how brother Hüseyin Kurt was dragged on the ground,” Erdoğan said, referring to a police intervention on demonstrators who were protesting a ban on rallies by Turkish politicians on March 11. Dutch police used water cannon and horses to break up the protests. Kurt was one of the protesters who faced police violence. 

Turkey will no longer be threatened by the EU membership process, Erdoğan said, adding that from now on, it will not permit any Europeans on Turkish soil to carry out “spying” under various pretexts.

“The European Union process, the readmission agreement, this and that, from now on, you can’t threaten us with these anymore,” he said. 

“This Europe, like before World War II, is a racist, fascist, cruel Europe... An anti-Muslim and anti-Turkish Europe,” said. 

On March 20, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said after a cabinet meeting that the comments were to ensure Europe “does not fall into the trap of fascism.”

Erdoğan hit out at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calls for dual Turkish-German national Deniz Yucel, the Turkey correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, to be freed. Yücel was jailed last month and is awaiting trial on terror charges.

Erdoğan, who accused Yücel of being a “terror agent” and taking refuge with German consular officials for a month, said Merkel had asked for him to be allowed to leave Turkey during her February visit.

“Our judiciary is independent, the decision will be given by the judiciary,” Erdoğan said he told the German leader.

March/21/2017

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