The European Parliament’s upcoming vote on whether or not to halt EU membership talks with Turkey has “no value” in Turkish eyes, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says.
Ankara’s post-coup purge pushed two of the Strasbourg body’s largest groups to call for discussions to be stalled, citing concerns about human rights and democracy in Turkey.
Erdogan accused Europe of double standards and claimed, once again, that the EU was siding with terrorist organisations.
“If we stay silent, after all of these events if we don’t saying anything, the West will continue to welcome – with red carpets – tyrants who salute the West and who have blood on their hands and label anyone who criticises them as a dictator,” he said.
He said Ankara exemplified EU values more than many other countries in the bloc, but had not seen real support from the West.
Founding EU members France and Germany have consistently supported continued engagement with Turkey, insisting that ending negotiations at this point would do more harm than good.
But, German Chancellor Angela Merkel added, “that doesn’t justify curbing press freedom or arresting thousands and thousands of citizens. And that’s what we have to criticise clearly, but at the same time we mustn’t cut the thread of conversation.”
Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to cooperating with Turkey, but said the “alarming things going on there” would be clearly addressed.