Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Erdogan harangues EU at Strasbourg rally

  • Erdogan speech had Islamist and anti-European tone (Photo: svenwerk)

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “crush” Kurdish “terrorists” and harangued the EU over its handling of the migrant crisis at two rallies on Sunday (4 October).

The first event, in Strasbourg, France, saw about 12,000 French, German, Belgian, and Swiss-origin Turkish supporters hear him speak on counter-terrorism, the AFP news agency reports.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He didn’t mention Islamic State.

But he vowed to “crush” the PKK, the Kurdish separatist movement.

He also accused the EU of doing little to help Turkey share the “burden” of Syrian refugees.

His speech had an Islamist and anti-European tone.

It was preceded by a Muslim prayer. Erdogan described Turkish soldiers killed in recent PKK hostilities as “martyrs” and the crowd chanted “Allahu Akbar!” in return.

He said the “hearts [of the Turkish people] are today united the same way they were” when the Ottoman Empire fought European powers in 1915 and when Turkish Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople.

He also said Turkey is defending “true civilisation” in the face of Europe’s “xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism”.

About 1,500 anti-Erdogan protesters held a parallel rally in the French city.

The activists chanted “murderer Erdogan!”, “thief Erdogan!”, and called for “an end to Erdogan's dictatorship”.

The chants referred to his violent crackdown on the moderate, pro-Kurdish, and pro-reform HDP party.

They also referred to his crackdown on media and judges involved in exposing high-level corruption in Ankara.

The Turkish leader, later on Sunday, held a second meeting outside his hotel in Place Stephanie, in central Brussels.

Up to 3,000 Turkish supporters, from Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, greeted him with rose petals, balloons, special t-shirts, and music.

His speech was softer, urging Europe to shelter war refugees and calling on diaspora Turks to vote in upcoming Turkish elections.

He spoke from a double-decker bus covered in a flag, after city authorities declined to let him hire a concert hall on grounds the venue shouldn't be used for political campaigns.

He also released two white doves.

The rallies came ahead of his meetings, on Monday, with the heads of the EU institutions and, separately, with the King of Belgium.

The EU wants him to help stop refugees coming, by boat, via Turkey to Greece.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, a German newspaper, and ARD, a leading TV broadcaster, report that the European Commission wants Turkey to build new refugee camps and to launch joint Greek-Turkish border patrols.

They said the EU plan envisages new camps for 2 million people, more European aid money, and a pledge to take in 500,000 more asylum seekers.

EU officials told EUobserver Erdogan is unlikely to agree new measures on Monday.

But they hope the EU-Turkey talks will pave the way for concrete action in time for the EU's next summit, in mid-October.

EU diplomats also note Erdogan is using his European tour to drum up support for his AKP party ahead of a snap parliametary election on 1 November.

The AKP is seeking a big enough majority to alter the Turkish constitution to give Erdogan’s office more power.

But rising support for the HDP thwarted its ambitions in a previous vote in June.

Turkish voters snub Erdogan

The AKP party has lost its majority in Turkey, putting the brakes on president Erdogan’s plan to consolidate power.

EU unveils Turkey migration plan

The Commission has unveiled a plan on how to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey, including extra funds and a joint crackdown on smugglers.

EU courts Turkey ahead of summit

EU leaders will discuss ways to get Turkey's help on stemming the flow of refugees at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  2. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  3. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  4. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  5. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  6. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  7. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  8. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability