15:17 GMT20 June 2021
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    The Turkish government will listen to its people, not "Hans" and "George," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the EU's non-binding resolution criticizing Ankara's post-coup crackdown.

    The EU Parliament should know its place and stop interfering in Turkey's internal political affairs, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting in Istanbul on Saturday.

    On Thursday the European Parliament voted to temporarily freeze Turkey's accession negotiations because of what it called Ankara's "disproportionate repressive measures" taken since the failed military coup attempt in July 2016.

    Erdogan responded by saying that the Turkish government may well extend the state of emergency put in place since the July 15 coup attempt for a further three months, in order to combat terrorism.

    "To demand that Turkey, which is facing almost daily attacks, desist from fighting terrorist structures is the same as calling for the country's surrender to terrorists. I tell the European parliament, you are supporting terrorists!" Turkey's Anadolu Agency reported.

    "European Parliament, know your place! The government runs this country, not the European parliament," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey will listen to its own people, not Europeans called "Hans" and "George."

    The post-coup crackdown has seen approximately 37,000 people arrested and more than 125,000 people dismissed or suspended from the military, civil service, judiciary and other organizations, as the government carries out a purge of suspected followers of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. 

    Erdogan's government believes what it terms the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETO) was behind the coup attempt, in which 248 people died and 2193 people were injured.

    "No threats from the West can break the will of the Turkish authorities. Those who think they can frighten Turkey with European Parliament resolutions are deeply mistaken. Turkey and the Turkish people aren't taking a step backwards. The murderers, who are under the guardianship of the West, will in the end turn their weapons in that direction," Erdogan declared.

    Since the coup attempt, supporters at government rallies have chanted for the death penalty and Erdogan has said that he will "respect the people's will" on the issue, and sign such a bill into law if parliament approves it.

    "If the people say 'we want the death penalty' … and this goes to parliament and parliament passes it and it comes to me, I declare I will approve this," the Turkish president said on Friday.

    Erdogan also warned Brussels that if it put the non-binding resolution into action and freezes Turkey's accession negotiations, he will open Turkey's European border to hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who want to reach Europe.

    "If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither I nor my people will be affected by these empty threats … don't forget, the West needs Turkey."

    As the EU criticizes Turkey's post-coup crackdown and stalls on accession talks, a key part of the migrant deal agreed in March, Erdogan has expressed growing exasperation with the bloc. Last week the Turkish president said that his country was considering applying to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) instead of pursuing EU accession. 

    The SCO is a political, economic and military alliance that includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Belarus, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan hold observer status in the organization, while Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Armenia, Nepal and Sri Lanka hold status of dialogue partners. Pakistan, India and Iran have officially applied for SCO membership.

    "Brexit can spread, such voices are heard from France, Italy. Under these circumstances, Turkey should feel calm. One should not say that the European Union is the only option. Why can't Turkey become a member of the SCO? I talked about it with Putin and Nazarbayev. Turkey's participation in the SCO will give us more freedom of action in this regard," Erdogan said.


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    European Union, accession talks, EU-accession, death penalty, EU-Turkey migrant deal, coup attempt in Turkey, European Parliament, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey
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