EU’s Flautre says PM Erdoğan’s harsh words against Hizmet not acceptable


Date posted: February 21, 2014

BRUSSELS

Hélène Flautre, the co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, has criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s harsh rhetoric against the Hizmet movement, saying that Erdoğan’s use of labels such as “traitor,” “virus” and “assassin” are simply not acceptable.

“Such rhetoric from the mouth of the prime minister can never be accepted,” said Flautre in an exclusive interview on STVHaber’s “European Desk” recently. “I see these remarks as a sign of weakness [on the part of Erdoğan],” she added.

Flautre also said members of the European Parliament did not find it acceptable that Erdoğan described the corruption probe as a conspiracy against his government orchestrated by what he called a “parallel state” within the judiciary and the police — and this organization’s foreign collaborators.

Flautre said that Erdoğan had tried to defend himself while he was in Brussels by saying that “there is no need for judicial investigation and this investigation was fiction.” She said Erdoğan’s claim was not credible.

Stressing that there have been efforts to prevent the corruption investigation from moving forward, Flautre described the situation as alarming “because Turks are losing their trust in their own institutions.”

The co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee also emphasized that if there is a “parallel state,” as Erdoğan claims, this should be investigated within the rule of law. She said European democrats are disturbed by the fact that the government framed the debate in terms of a parallel state before there was any transparent and clear investigation into the accusations.

Erdoğan’s government has reassigned thousands of police officers, including many senior chiefs and hundreds of prosecutors and judges in what was seen as a move to stall the corruption investigations. The government also curbed Internet freedoms and pushed a controversial bill through Parliament to increase its control over the judiciary.

The rushed legislation came in response to a corruption probe that shook the prime minister’s Cabinet. Four ministers implicated in the investigation, which went public with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, were replaced in a broader government reshuffle. But despite the resignations of the ministers, the public discussion on corruption did not fade away.

Flautre also said the deportation of Today’s Zaman correspondent and blogger Mahir Zeynalov from Turkey over his tweets criticizing the government represented a new peak in pressure on the media in Turkey.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 21, 2014


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