‘Erdoğanophobia’ exists in Europe, Turkey’s EU minister says
PARIS – Anadolu Agency
AA photo“Erdoğanophobia” has existed in Europe for a long time, based on Islamophobia and xenophobia, Turkey’s European Union Minister Ömer Çelik said in an article published on Feb. 11.
“European diplomats are talking about constitutional reform in Turkey without knowing about the content of it,” Çelik told French newspaper Le Monde.
He said constitutional reform in Turkey will “force the president to relinquish powers rather than increase them” and the position would be subject to prosecution.
“Turkish people will largely support this reform because the July 15 coup attempt exposed the weaknesses of the current system,” Çelik said.
“The coup attempt was done by an organization loyal to a heretic religious belief. Their leader is in Pennsylvania, U.S.,” Çelik told the French 24 television station in reference to Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government accuses of being the mastermind of the failed coup attempt.
Half of the generals were involved in the coup attempt and the government will remove any military personnel found to be associated with the coup attempt, according to Çelik, who said the Gülen network has tried for 50 years and infiltrated key segments of the Turkish state.
“One of the top judges confessed at the prosecution and said that they were taking orders from Gülen on important documents,” the minister said.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish army entered Syria in an effort to clear terror elements from Turkey’s border.
“This army made operations against Daesh and for the first time NATO border was cleared from Daesh. Our army did not weaken, but became stronger,” Çelik added, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic Stte of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Çelik said Erdoğan showed great leadership on the EU-Turkey refugee agreement.
“The real threat came from European leaders. France had to accept 17,000 refugees but it accepted only 2,000 until now. Many European countries did not accept any refugees,” the minister said, adding that Turkey does not profit from the situation, only Europe has gains and visa free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU was not granted.
“When our president is reacting to this, they are blaming him. Europe is the one who did not keep its promises, 3 billion euros aid [to refugees in Turkey] was not sent,” Çelik added.
Under the deal, the EU has pledged aid to meet the needs of refugees in Turkey, as well as visa liberalization and speeding up talks regarding Turkey’s accession to the bloc, in exchange for Turkey stemming the flow of refugees seeking to enter Europe.
The EU is to provide 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in aid to help Turkey care for millions of refugees. The EU will disburse the initially allocated 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and ensure funding of additional projects for those under temporary protection identified with input from Turkey.