TURKEY: European leaders failed Turkey after the attempted coup, says the country's foreign minister to VG. Now the EU has one last chance to improve relations.
Turkey has long complained about what the country's authorities believe is arrogance of the EU in the stalled negotiations on an agreement about visa freedom for 70 million Turks. After the failed coup attempt in July, relations have gone from bad to worse.
Turkey believes European leaders used far too long time before condemning the attempted coup, and Turkey also reacted strongly to the criticism against President Erdogan's massive purge in the aftermath of the coup.
- Some European politicians began to criticize us for the treatment of the coup soldiers already on the eve when these coup makers still bombed our people, said Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to VG.
- Some falsely argued that Turkey beheaded soldiers, as if we were Daesh (the Islamic state), he said.
Çavuşoğlu answered questions after having had meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende and EU's representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, in the Turkish capital on Friday.
After the meeting, the Norwegian news outlets VG and NRK, were allowed to ask the minister some questions.
VG asked for an assessment of the European response to the coup, and the minister responded with a long tirade about how he feels that Turkey was being failed by the EU after the attempted coup.
- Criticism increased and became a threat to us, says Çavuşoğlu, and denies that any coup soldiers were abused, which many, including Amnesty International, have claimed and proved.
- What do you think is the reason why western countries came with this criticism?
- Many were influenced by false propaganda by the coup makers network, but we expected that our friends in Europe would rather come here and see for themselves, but that did not happen.
NRK asked if Turkey now will do as many Turkish media suggest: Break the negotiations with the EU.
- Unfortunately, support for the EU in our own population has declined after the betrayal of us, but EU membership has always been a priority and a foreign policy strategy, said Çavuşoğlu.
- EU did not support democracy in Turkey, but now we expect steps to be taken to clean up. Europe has one last chance to improve relations, said Çavuşoğlu.
The threat of course, which has previously been made very clear, includes opening the floodgates to Europe for 3 million migrants and refugees that currently reside in Turkey.
Meanwhile the EU has ships just outside the coast of Libya, where migrants are picked up by the thousands each day, taken safely to Italy or Greece, from where some are sent on to Turkey, and thus give Erdogan an even better hand.
A large part of the refugee situation in Turkey is paid for by the EU, after a demand from Turkey.
The strangest of times (and politicians).
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