Turkish FM slams EU chief's remarks on opposition arrests
ANKARA - Anadolu AgencyTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has accused the head of the European Parliament of defending the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after the latter criticized the detention of journalists and opposition lawmakers on terror charges.
“They are defending the PKK very well. Was there any statement from Schulz and those who think like him after our governor was martyred?” Çavuşoğlu told reporters when asked about the European Parliament's President Martin Schulz's earlier remarks on arrests targeting journalists and lawmakers.
The Turkish minister was referring to Muhammet Fatih Safitürk, the governor of Mardin's Derik district, who succumbed on Nov. 11 to wounds sustained in a PKK terrorist attack.
“[Martin] Schulz's threatening statements have no effect on us,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Ankara following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
“First, [he] should stop the activities of the PKK in the European Parliament,” Cavusoğlu said.
“If he is strong enough, he should be using this discourse against those supporting terror in the EU member countries,” he added.
The Turkish minister said that Schulz would do whatever was necessary to impose economic sanctions against Turkey. Earlier this month, Martin Schulz, the European Parliament's president, reacted to the arrest of 11 journalists from daily Cumhuriyet in Istanbul and Ankara as well as the arrest of lawmakers from Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on terror charges.
Media reports said he had indicated that the EU could impose sanctions on Turkey following the anti-terror operations.