The European Union is making serious mistakes in its response to Turkey’s failed coup and is losing support for EU membership from Turks as a result, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the state-run Anadolu agency, Mevlüt Çavusoglu said Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia was not meant as a message to the West. But if the West “loses” Turkey, it will be because of its own mistakes and not because of its good ties with Russia, China or the Islamic world.
His comments reflect the deep frustration in Turkey over the perception that Europe and the United States have given lukewarm support to Ankara since the failed July 15 coup, when a faction of the military commandeered tanks and warplanes in an attempt to topple the government.
“Unfortunately, the EU is making some serious mistakes. They have failed the test following the coup attempt,” he said in the interview, which was broadcast live.
“Support for EU membership used to be about 50% of the population; I assume it is around 20% now,” he said.
Turkey has been incensed by what it sees as Western concern over its post-coup crackdown, but indifference to the bloody putsch itself, in which more than 240 people were killed, many of them civilians.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday took a big step toward normalising relations with Russia, meeting President Vladimir Putin in a visit to St Petersburg, his first foreign trip since the failed coup.
The visit was closely watched in the West, where some fear that both men, powerful leaders who critics say are ill-disposed to dissent, might use their rapprochement to exert pressure on the US and the EU and stir tensions in Nato, the military alliance of which Turkey is a member. — Reuters