Some EU states cannot tolerate Turkey's rise: Erdogan

Turkish president accuses some member countries of working against 'Yes' vote in Turkey's April 16 constitutional referendum

Some EU states cannot tolerate Turkey's rise: Erdogan

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that some EU countries could not tolerate Turkey's rise as an emerging power, and accused them of working against the "Yes" vote in Turkey's April 16 constitutional referendum.

"A part of the European Union countries, unfortunately, cannot tolerate the rise of Turkey, and Germany is right at the top [of the list]. Germany relentlessly supports terrorism," Erdogan said during an interview aired live on local A Haber and ATV networks.

The president lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said earlier Monday that the Netherlands had her "full support and solidarity" in the Turkish-Dutch row.

"Merkel! Shame on you! Stand by the Netherlands as you like. You are supporting terrorists," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey had sent Germany 4,500 files on terrorists, but Germany did nothing about it.

His remarks came amid an ongoing standoff between Turkey and the Netherlands after the Dutch government banned planned rallies of Turkish ministers ahead of the referendum.

On Saturday, the Dutch government first cancelled the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's flight permit to the Netherlands and then blocked a convoy carrying Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya and forced her to leave the country under police escort.

When Turkish citizens in Rotterdam peacefully protested these developments, they were met by police using batons, dogs and water cannons, in what some analysts called a disproportionate use of force.

The events have drawn strong criticism from the Turkish government, which, earlier Monday, sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands in protest.

Two weeks ago, Turkish government ministers were also barred from holding public rallies in two German cities.

Erdogan said he would not be content with only a simple apology from the Netherlands on this issue.

"They will pay the price for this sooner or later," he said, adding the Dutch government would be called to account for the recent events.

Erdogan accused Germany and the Netherlands of ignoring the Vienna Convention, and of being fascist and employing Nazi practices.

"We can call it Neo-Nazism. That's their understanding of the Vienna Convention," Erdogan said.

Signed in 1961, the Vienna Convention is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries.

It also specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country, according to the treaty.

- "Energy of young people to refresh Turkish parliament"

Turkish president also voiced support for a proposed constitutional change that would lower the minimum age to become a lawmaker from 25 to 18.

"What could be more beautiful than this? This is paving the way for all young people in Turkey to take firm steps towards the future. Their energy will refresh the Turkish parliament," Erdogan said.

He slammed the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu for misinforming the nation on the proposed amendments.

Last week, Kilicdaroglu accused the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party for forming a “political aristocracy” by reducing the minimum age for parliamentary candidates.

"They have reduced the minimum parliamentary candidacy age to 18 for their own children and grandchildren. They will make them deputies at the age of 18 and will exempt them from military service with an amendment," Kilicdaroglu said on March 6.

The CHP is campaigning for a "No" vote in the referendum, but Kilicdaroglu said the party would embrace both "Yes" and "No" voters after the poll.

Erdogan reiterated his criticism of the "No" campaigners, saying, “They are not against the system. They are actually against the Turkish people. They are siding with terrorists."

The constitutional changes have been discussed since Erdogan was voted president in August 2014. The 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposal to a referendum.

The reforms would hand wide-ranging executive powers to the president and the post of prime minister would be abolished. The president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.

Other changes would see the minimum age for parliamentary candidates reduced to 18 and the number of deputies rise to 600. Simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections for a five-year term would be held in November 2019 under the new constitution.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Mart 2017, 00:47