Ankara- Relations between Ankara and the European Union (EU) have been severely strained since several Turkish ministers were blocked from campaigning on the continent for a ‘yes’ vote in the April 16 referendum on boosting the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Tension has also grown following a decision by some European states to give asylum and protection to Turkish soldiers whom Ankara accused of involvement in the failed July coup.
Erdogan said on Thursday that Europe has witnessed several incidents that targeted citizens inhumanely.
In his speech before the members of the Anatolian Publishers Association at the presidential palace, Erdogan hoped that elections would take place in Bulgaria with integrity and justice.
In this context, Bulgaria accused Turkey of meddling in the elections.
Erdogan resumed his diatribe against the EU when he said on Wednesday: “If Europe continues this way, then no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this.”
In response to this statement, the EU summoned the Turkish ambassador to Brussels to demand an explanation on Erdogan’s warning that Europeans risk being unsafe.
“We have asked the Turkish permanent delegate to the EU to come as we would like to receive an explanation with regard to the comments by President Erdogan concerning the safety of Europeans on the streets of the world,” EU Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.
Earlier, Erdogan accused Germany and the Netherlands of adopting Nazi measures in preventing Turkish ministers from delivering speeches in assemblies in Europe due to security concerns. These statements worsened relations with the EU, which Turkey has for years been seeking to join.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that Berlin is unwilling to aggravate tension with Turkey and that the government has sent a memorandum of protest to Ankara for describing the country as Nazi.
Merkel also expressed willingness to hold talks with Turkey, anytime, saying all problems can be resolved through dialogue.
On Thursday, a Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Norway’s decision to grant asylum to a group of Turkish military officers is an administrative not a political one.
“We’ve informed the Turkish ambassador in Oslo that asylum applications are decided by Norwegian immigration officials, based on Norwegian law,” Guri Solberg said in a statement, a day after Ankara summoned Norway’s ambassador over the issue.
Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned the envoy on Wednesday to express its concerns about Oslo’s decision to grant asylum to the four Turks suspected of links to the Gulen network accused by Ankara of orchestrating the coup attempt.