World Bulletin / News Desk
Most European countries are unsettled by Turkey's economic growth, the country's labor and social security minister said Wednesday.
"Germany, the Netherlands and a big part of European countries are seriously unsettled by the strong economic growth and development of Turkey in the recent years," Mehmet Muezzinoglu told Anadolu Agency's Editors’ Desk.
"We can clearly observe it especially since the Gezi Park protests in [summer of] 2013," he said, referring to the relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, which grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that eventually left eight demonstrators and a police officer dead.
The protests erupted after the government moved to replace part of a leafy park at the heart of Istanbul with a mall. A redevelopment plan for the construction of an Ottoman-era barracks in Gezi Park became the focus of demonstrations that saw protesters clash with police in more than a dozen cities, causing damage to public and private property, according to the Turkish Health Ministry.
The government later labeled the demonstrations an attempt to overthrow the state by members of U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen’s “parallel state” in the police and court system.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- led by Gulen -- has also been accused of being behind last July's attempted coup, which left at least 249 people martyred and around 2,200 wounded.
Muezzinoglu also accused the European countries of being involved in events targeting Turkey.
"They are behind all anti-Turkish developments either as a supporter or an organizer," he said.
The minister's remarks came after some EU countries barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies for the upcoming April 16 constitutional referendum in Turkey.
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was refused permission to land in the Netherlands and Family and Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was forced to leave the country under police escort after being blocked from entering Turkey’s Consulate in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.
When Turkish citizens in Rotterdam tried to peacefully protest, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force.
The incidents drew strong criticism from Ankara, including diplomatic notes sent to the Netherlands in protest.