Erdogan Prediction of European Peril Prompts EU to Summon EnvoyBy
Turkish president warns that Europeans won’t be safe anywhere
Comments are made on same day four people killed in London
The European Union summoned Turkey’s ambassador to the bloc after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned about the safety of Europeans around the world.
Faruk Kaymakci, the Turkish permanent representative to the 28-nation EU, was due to meet Thomas Mayr-Harting, managing director in charge of Turkey at the European External Action Service, in Brussels on Thursday afternoon over the controversy.
On Wednesday Erdogan said “Turkey isn’t a country that can be pushed around” by the EU and, “if you continue to act like this, tomorrow no European, no Westerner, will be able to step out into the streets anywhere in the world with security or in peace.” He was speaking to the Anatolian Publishers Association on the same day that four people in London were killed in the city’s worst terrorist attack in more than a decade.
“We would like to receive an explanation with regard to the comments by President Erdogan concerning the safety of Europeans on the streets in the world,” Maja Kocijancic, EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs, told reporters on Thursday in Brussels.
Erdogan’s remarks followed a high-profile diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the Netherlands in the run-up to the Dutch general election on March 15. The Netherlands denied entry to Turkish ministers campaigning to expand Erdogan’s powers in a planned referendum, prompting Turkey’s leader to accuse the Dutch government of Nazi-like behavior.
Similarly, officials in Germany canceled rallies by Turkish ministers, prompting Erdogan to accuse the nation of employing “Nazi practices” as well, and of supporting “terrorist organizations,” including the separatist Kurdish PKK group. Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed the allegations as “clearly absurd” through her chief spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
“Turkey isn’t a country that can be pushed around, shoved around, have its honor played with, its ministers expelled, its citizens dragged on the ground,” Erdogan said on Wednesday. “The whole world is following these events very closely.”
— With assistance by Jones Hayden, and Benjamin Harvey