Turkish EU Minister Çelik calls EU envoys for meeting after arrests criticism
AFP photoEU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik has invited envoys of European Union member countries in Ankara for a meeting, following strong European criticism of the arrest of pro-Kurdish lawmakers.
The minister will address ambassadors regarding the “latest developments” in Turkey, a written statement said on Nov. 6.
EU Commission and member states have reacted angrily to the jailing of nine Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers, including co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, with EU officials and politicians of member states making a series of phone conversations with their Turkish interlocutors over the arrests.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz made a phone conversation with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, while Çelik had phone conversations with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and met with the ambassador of Slovakia, which is currently holding the term presidency of the EU.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke to his Estonian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian counterparts, along with Council of Europe General Secretary Thorbjorn Jagland, about the arrests.
Sources in Ankara say Çavuşoğlu and Çelik told EU officials that “all citizens are equal under the law and nobody is above the law,” while also expressing Turkey’s discomfort with the PKK and its affiliates “getting support in European countries.”
EU Mogherini and EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn had said in a joint statement the EU was “gravely concerned,” adding that the HDP co-chairs were “our trusted and valued interlocutors.”
“These developments ... compromise parliamentary democracy in Turkey,” they said.
Compounding the tensions, an Istanbul court on Saturday ordered the jailing pending trial of nine executives and editorial staff from the opposition daily Cumhuriyet.