Turkey won’t break with West, says Turkish deputy PM
AA photoTurkey will not break with the West, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said April 5, adding that Ankara wanted to enhance relations between the two parties.
“Turkey will not break up with the West. On the contrary, we want to enhance relations with the West,” Şimşek said during an address at the opening ceremony of the 20th Eurasian Economic Summit organized by the Marmara Group Foundation on April 5 in Istanbul.
Stating that Turkey had taken drastic measures since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, Şimşek said the measures would not be the new norms and that Ankara had only been forced to fight threats.
“We will not apply isolationist measures,” he said.
Şimşek said he believed Turkey would return to posting stronger growth in the near future.
Turkey accuses U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his followers of organizing and conducting the coup attempt. After the failed attempt, the government launched a crackdown on the followers of the Gülenist movement, which it accuses of infiltrating state institutions like the judiciary and army and trying to topple the government.
Stating that the state of emergency was a temporary measure, Şimşek said Turkey was not only dealing with the Gülenist movement, but also the threats that have spilt over into the country due to the six-year-old war in Syria and terrorism, whether from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Şimşek said that even though there had been anger, resentment and frustration in Turkey-EU relations, as well as harsh rhetoric, he continued to believe that Turkey and the EU needed each other.
“We are committed to delivering reforms within the EU context,” the deputy PM said, adding that this would serve the Turkish people. “We are not going to give up on that.”
Commenting on the rise of populism, Islamophobia and the far-right in Europe, Şimşek said the EU needed to deal with the issues, as the topics affected its relations with other countries, especially Turkey.
“We do not want Turkey to be used for domestic football at a time where there are many elections [in Europe],” Şimşek said in reference to souring relations between Turkey and some EU countries, namely the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.
“That is why we are pushing for an upgrade to the Turkey-European Union customs union” to include agriculture, services and public procurement, he said.
Calling on European leaders, Şimşek said he recommended that they “stop talking or shouting at Turkey” but rather “talked with Turkey.”
The best solution is dialogue, he added.