We made mistakes after Turkey’s coup attempt: European Parliament rapporteur Piri

We made mistakes after Turkey’s coup attempt: European Parliament rapporteur Piri

We made mistakes after Turkey’s coup attempt: European Parliament rapporteur Piri Kati Piri, the rapporteur for Turkey at the European Parliament, has said Brussels “made a mistake against the Turkish people” after the country’s failed coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

Piri said both herself and Brussels had been quick to criticize Ankara’s post-coup crackdown but were wrong to not mention the more than 200 people killed by coup-plotting soldiers on the night of July 15 and not to talk about the bombing of the Turkish Parliament by jets used by putschists.

The Turkish government has strongly criticized the EU and other European bodies, complaining that they did not display genuine support and were late to visit Ankara in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

In an interview with Turkish daily Habertürk on Sept. 15, Piri said Brussels had been slow to recognize the trauma that the coup attempt had created in people, particularly noting that the assassination attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had deeply affected people. 

“Those who support Erdoğan and those who don’t support him were united that night. That was a reality that we didn’t understand well enough. We made a mistake by not empathizing with the Turkish people,” Piri reportedly said.

Stressing that she had never met anyone in Brussels who was in favor of the coup attempt, Piri added that she personally has “no doubt” that people linked to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen were behind the failed takeover. 

She also said that during her visits to Turkey in the last three years there were talks about Gülenists, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) referring to the Gülen movement as a “parallel state structure.” The coup attempt showed that there really was a parallel state, Piri stated. 

The European Parliament rapporteur also said she had questions regarding the attempted takeover. 

“How large was this organization? Was this coup attempt managed from Pennsylvania? Were hundreds or even thousands of Gülenists involved in this? Otherwise, was it something that the Gülenists in the army, who knew that they would be dismissed, did as a last resort?” she said, noting that answers to these questions can only be given by judges.

Addressing the government’s sweeping post-coup attempt measures and imposition of a state of emergency, Piri stressed that they did not know whether the thousands of people who have been suspended, detained or arrested were directly involved in the July 15 coup bid. 

She also said a distinction should be made between Gülenists “directly involved” in the failed takeover and those who only “sympathize” with the movement.

Piri also touched on her visit to the Turkish capital Ankara in August, saying she expressed her solidarity with Turkey in her meetings with Turkish officials.