Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

West backs terrorists and plotters, says Erdogan

  • Turkey wants the US to hand over Fethullah Gulen (Photo: EUobserver)

Turkey has accused the West of supporting terrorism and backing the failed coup to overthrow the government.

In a fiery speech delivered at his 1,150 room palace in Ankara on Tuesday (2 August), president Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded the United States hand over his bitter foe Fethullah Gulen.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Gulen, a 75-year old cleric who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1991, has been accused of masterminding the 15 July coup. He denies any involvement.

"This coup attempt has actors inside Turkey, but its script was written outside. Unfortunately the West is supporting terrorism and stands by coup plotters," said Erdogan.

The US, for its part, offered a mild rebuke to Erdogan's comments.

US state department spokesman John Kirby said Erdogan “is certainly free to express his views and his frustrations as he sees fit."

Kirby said "what matters is the partnership with Turkey is going forward."

Turkish lawmakers have since been dispatched to the United States in a broader diplomatic effort to convince authorities that Gulen is behind the attack.

Another group of Turkish lawmakers from the foreign affairs committee has also been sent to Brussels.

Erdogan also took a swipe at human rights group Amnesty International, which alleged that some people detained in the government-led purge had been tortured.

Erdogan said Turkey had “zero tolerance toward torture” and said the London-based rights group should visit those wounded in the coup.

“If you have any self respect, you’ll come to Turkey ... you’ll visit our [wounded] in hospital, and you’ll see who did what to whom,” he said.

Some 200 people died in the coup with another 2,000 injured.

But Amnesty International’s secretary general Salil Shetty stood by the torture reports.

In a statement issued after Ergodan's speech, he said the government must release people who have committed no crime.

“The serious human rights violations documented by an Amnesty International team on the ground in Turkey are alarming," he said.

Some 70,000 people have been forced to resign, including football referees, over their perceived affiliation in the plot to overthrow the government. Another 18,000 have been arrested, reports the Associated Press.

Erdogan hits out at Italy

Erdogan's combative accusations continued later on Tuesday in an interview with Italian TV channel RAI.

He criticised foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who had said Turkey must respect democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"Mrs Mogherini should have first come to Turkey. Now I ask: What would be the reaction if the Italian parliament was bombed?"

Erdogan also traded barbs with Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi over allegations of money laundering.

Erdogan's 35-year-old son Bilal Erdogan risks arrest if he enters Italy, where he had been a student.

Italian prosecutors launched an investigation earlier this year against Bilal in a corruption scandal that links back to his father's AKP party and other senior Turkish government officials.

"Italy should be attending to the mafia, not my son," said Ergodan.

But Renzi replied on Twitter, saying that Italy's legal system was independent and that "judges answer to the Italian constitution and not the Turkish president".

Malta raises alarm on Russia in Libya

A Russian-backed warlord could start a “civil war” in Libya, increasing refugee flows to Europe, Malta, the new EU presidency, has said.

Trump team asked which EU state is next to exit

The outgoing US ambassador to the EU, Anthony L Gardner, says Trump's transitional team had placed a call to officials at the EU institutions asking which member state would be next to leave the European Union.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  3. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  4. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  5. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  6. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  7. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  8. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey
  12. Zero Waste EuropePublic Support Needed to Promote Zero Waste in More Municipalities