Turkish President Erdoğan slams EU's 'lack of solidarity'
BERLIN – Anadolu Agency
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) shakes hands with the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their meeting in Ankara.President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized European leaders for failing to show solidarity with Turkey during a recent coup attempt, while instead they raised concerns about the rule of law.
Erdoğan told Germany's RTL television on Aug. 12 that German Chancellor Angela Merkel called him three days after the July 15 defeated coup to condemn the attempted overthrow but she also expressed fears regarding investigations into the overthrow attempt.
“All these make us sad. Let them leave it to us to do what is necessary in line with our domestic rule of law. We are doing nothing out of desire for revenge,” he said, emphasizing that all measures taken after the coup attempt comply with relevant laws.
Erdoğan expressed regret that there has not yet been any high-level European visitor to Turkey since July 15, while the coup attempt, which was one of the greatest attacks to Turkish democracy, was defeated by the Turkish people.
Erdoğan renewed Turkish commitment to a EU-Turkey refugee deal signed earlier this year, but during the interview he also emphasized that the future of the agreement would depend on the EU's concrete steps to fulfill its promises made to Ankara.
“Visa liberalization and readmission are very important, currently the process is ongoing. Of course these will be simultaneous steps. But unfortunately Europe has not yet delivered on its promises,” he said, in remarks translated to German from Turkish.
Erdoğan criticized the EU's reluctance to make progress on visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, despite promises made as part of the deal.
The EU-Turkey refugee deal aims to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The deal also allows for the acceleration of Turkey's EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, on the condition that Ankara meets 72 requirements set by the EU.
Ankara has met most of the requirements, but the EU's demands for change in Turkey's anti-terrorism law have led to a deadlock in negotiations.