Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Turkey's foreign minister says EU defense of Netherlands fuels xenophobia

The ongoing diplomatic spat between Turkey and some European Union member states further soured on Tuesday when the Turkish foreign minister said an EU statement calling for calm merely fueled xenophobia and anti-Turkish sentiments.

Amid a deepening bilateral crisis between the Netherlands and Turkey, the EU on Monday came out in defense of its member state's right to prohibit Turkish referendum campaigning on Dutch soil and urged Ankara to tone down its volatile war of words in response.

Unabated, Mevlüt Çavusoglu released his own statement: "The EU should realize that the statement fuels extremism, such as xenophobia and anti-Turkish sentiments because the call to refrain from excessive statements and actions that risk further exacerbating the situation is made only to Turkey."

He continued: "The EU's protectionist attitude that hides behind member state solidarity and stands with the Netherlands, which has clearly violated human rights and European values, is extremely grave."

The EU statement, made jointly by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement and European neighborhood policy commissioner, Johannes Hahn, said EU member states had the right, on an individual basis, to decide whether to allow rallies and political meetings on their territory.

But Çavusoglu accused EU leaders of only selectively applying democratic values, fundamental rights and freedoms and concluded that the EU statement was therefore of no value to Turkey.

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