Turkish EU minister calls remarks by EU commissioner ‘cultural racism’

Turkish EU minister calls remarks by EU commissioner ‘cultural racism’

Turkish EU minister calls remarks by EU commissioner ‘cultural racism’

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Turkey’s EU minister has said comments by Germany’s European commissioner, in which he said Turkey would probably not join the EU while President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in the Presidency, showed “cultural racism.”

Turkish EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik was referring to remarks by EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Guenther Oettinger, who said Turkey’s EU membership “would be an issue after Erdoğan,” and Turkey would not be able to join the union in the upcoming decade. 

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the minister also criticized statements from EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

“They have pointed a gun towards us and called on parties for calm. They don’t stand by us if they call for calm with the one who intended to kill me,” Çelik said, referring to the July 15 failed coup attempt by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Çelik also criticized EU Commissioner on Enlargement Johannes Hahn for his recent remarks that Ankara would not give up 2.7 million euros earmarked to support refugee projects. 

“Hahn said ‘Turkey needs this money.’ Turkey does not need that money. Turkey is not a country that can be purchased. Speaking in this way, Hahn should be aware of he makes statements sabotaging this process which has appeared as an acquisition between the EU and Turkey,” the minister stated.

The minister also refuted allegations that there had been a cease-fire agreement between Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

“We do not accept in any circumstances... a ‘compromise or a cease-fire reached between Turkey and Kurdish elements,’”Çelik said. “The Turkish Republic is a sovereign, legitimate state,” he added, stressing that one could not draw equalization between a ‘terrorist organization’ and Turkey as if there was a consensus between them.

Presidential spokesperson: EU owes debt of gratitude to Erdoğan 

Elaborating on Oettinger’s remarks, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said EU officials should first asses their attitude after the failed coup attempt, instead of “giving lessons on democracy and human rights.”
EU officials “should look at where they have been standing,” regarding the struggle against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETO), he noted.

He reiterated that Turkey’s EU membership will remain a strategic target of Ankara.  

“These kinds of speculations on Erdoğan” would not benefit the EU, he also said, stressing that Turkey was the “key country” that would maintain security in the region. 

“What would the EU do if the coup attempt had succeeded and the state institutions of Turkey had collapsed?” he asked.

“Whether they like Erdoğan or not, everybody who defends democracy, human rights and freedom owes a debt of gratitude to Erdoğan,” he said.