Erdoğan slams Europe and US, says will continue to crack down on their ‘agents’

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed Germany, the Netherlands and the US for denying him and his ministers the opportunity to deliver speeches in their countries and said their “agents” would not be permitted to operate freely in Turkey.

Erdoğan, who was speaking during a group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), referred to the arrest of six human rights defenders during a workshop at a hotel earlier this month and said: “You will not allow Turkey’s president or ministers the opportunity to speak in your country, but your agents come here and do as they please at our hotels. We will continue to crack down on their agents.”

Six human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s (AI) Turkey Director İdil Eser and German human rights consultant Peter Steudtner, who were detained on July 5 during a workshop at a hotel on İstanbul’s Büyükada, were put in pre-trial detention by an İstanbul court last week.

Erdoğan accused the human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

We see an incomprehensible attitude towards Turkey especially from the US, Germany and the Netherlands. They want only their interests to be on the table, and us to make sacrifices. While they are bothering our citizens there, they want their agents to do as they please in our country and us not to do anything. Excuse us, there is no more a Turkey like that…You either ally with us on equal terms, or you will receive a response to your every disrespectful act,” said Erdoğan.

Erdogan has also dismissed the threat of an informal German economic embargo and said Germany would lose in a long-running diplomatic rift with Turkey.

Criticizing Western countries for attempting to teach Turkey lessons in humanity while they were themselves involved in the “most brutal massacres” in history during World Wars I and II, Erdoğan said: “We have never had an unfavorable relationship with the investors of any country in Turkey. There are German firms that have been active in Turkey for more than a century. They have never had any problems here. They have made good profits, too. We are working in line with the win-win principle. But if you attempt to threaten us with this, you will be wrong and you will lose. There is no brand in the world, there are brands. You see that if one brand leaves, another will replace it.”

Erdoğan threatened Germany, which is Turkey’s main trading partner and which sent the biggest number of tourists to Turkey last year, with paying a high price in return for an economic embargo and told them to stop threatening Turkey. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble recently said Erdoğan is putting at risk his country’s centuries-old ties with Germany.


Meanwhile, Eurowings flight 4U2904, scheduled to fly last Saturday from Stuttgart to Ankara, was canceled because its pilot was afraid to fly to Turkey, passengers claim, unlike the airline’s assertion that the flight was canceled because of the “sudden sickness of a crew member.”

According to a story published by Deutsche Welle (DW) on Tuesday, angry passengers on Eurowings flight 4U2904 who were stranded at Stuttgart airport say the flight was canceled because of political fears. However, the official explanation issued by the airline on Sunday was that the flight was canceled because of the sudden sickness of one of the pilots on the flight.

“Eurowings flight 4U2904 was annulled because one of the pilots called in sick. Because this happened at short notice, it was unfortunately not possible to activate a replacement pilot for this flight,” the airline wrote to DW in an email.

As part of an ongoing spat with Turkey over Ankara’s jailing of German journalists and human rights activists, Berlin changed its travel advisory to warn its citizens of “risks” associated with travel to Turkey. Pilots who work for Lufthansa, Eurowings’ parent company, are allowed to declare themselves “unfit to fly” if they feel they are unable to correctly discharge their duties.


A possible rally to be held by Erdoğan during the G-20 summit was not approved by Germany after a German veto of the entry into Germany of members of Erdoğan’s security detail who attacked protesters in Washington in May. The ban included a speech by Erdoğan at a Turkish consulate and its distribution as a video message.

The Dutch foreign ministry also said the visit of Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş or another Turkish minister to commemorate the anniversary of a failed coup attempt in Turkey last July would not be welcomed by the Netherlands.

Both Germany and the Netherlands refused to allow Turkish ministers and government officials to campaign there for an April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey.

On May 16, members of President Erdoğan’s security detail engaged in a violent altercation with a group of protesters outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador in Washington while Erdoğan was paying an official visit to the country. At least 11 protesters were injured.

The Washington police department on June 15 issued a wanted list for 12 of President Erdoğan’s bodyguards as criminal suspects for their attacks on protesters on May 16. Erdoğan slammed the US decision to issue arrest warrants for his bodyguards and said he would initiate a political and legal battle against the warrants. (SCF with July 25, 2017

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