Turkish minister slams EU envoy over remarks

Turkish minister slams EU envoy over remarks

Turkish minister slams EU envoy over remarks

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Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır has slammed the European Union’s envoy to Turkey, Hansjörg Haber, over recent remarks regarding an EU-Turkey deal on refugees and visa-free travel. Bozkır asked Haber to explain what he meant when he used a German saying “start like a Turk and end like a German,” while discussing the Turkey-EU visa liberalization deal. 

“The German ambassador of the EU should explain to the Turkish nation what he meant when he said ‘like a German and like a Turk.’ No diplomat and especially no ambassador can address the president of a country where he is posted for his job like this,” Bozkır said May 14 in posts shared on his personal Twitter account. 

“An ambassador does not have the right to humiliate the country and people where he is located and say a word against the president. This is the first principle of diplomacy,” said Bozkır. 

Stating that Turkey-EU relations were at a critical juncture that could not tolerate diplomatic gaffes, humiliation and negativity, Bozkır said Haber should explain what he meant by his words. 

“I expect that EU Ambassador Haber, who is proud to be a German, will make an explanation about this issue or do ‘what is necessary,’” said Bozkır. 

On May 13, Haber told a group of journalists that the old German saying of “Start like a Turk and end like a German,” had been reversed in the case of fulfilling the 72 criteria needed for the EU to grant Turkish citizens visa-free travel inside the EU. 

“We have a proverb. ‘To start like a Turk and end like a German,’ but it has been just the opposite here [visa liberalization process],” said Haber. “It started like a German and is being finished like a Turk,” he said, adding that even though the visa liberalization process had started in 2013, there had been problems lately in completing it.