Friday 15 December 2017

EU warned over Erdogan's 'Nazi' methods against opponents

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AP

Dean Gray

Luxembourg's foreign minister said yesterday that the Turkish government's handling of dismissed civil servants reminded him of methods used by the Nazis, and that, sooner or later, the EU would have to respond with sanctions.

More than 110,000 public servants in Turkey - from soldiers and judges to teachers and journalists - have been detained, suspended or sacked since a failed military coup in July, in what President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critics say is a crackdown on all forms of dissent.

Turkish officials say the measures are justified by the threat posed by the coup attempt, in which more than 240 people were killed as rogue soldiers commandeered fighter jets and tanks, bombing parliament and other buildings.

The names of those who are barred from public service are published in the official government gazette, potentially making it hard for them to find work elsewhere. In addition, their passports are cancelled.

Jean Asselborn said people were also being stripped of their university degrees, and that many were being left with no income. Some dismissed teachers who were sole breadwinners have complained of being unable to feed their families.

"To put it bluntly, these are methods that were used during the Nazi era and that's a really, really bad development ... that the European Union simply cannot accept," Mr Asselborn said.

He suggested imposing economic sanctions, pointing out that 50pc of Turkey's exports go to the EU and 60pc of investment in Turkey comes from the bloc: "At a certain point in time, we won't have any choice but to apply it (sanctions) to counteract the unbearable human rights situation."

Mr Erdogan and government ministers have repeatedly said it is up to Turkey to decide how to respond to the coup attempt, which they accuse US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating through a network of supporters. Mr Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement.

Turkey's EU Minister Omer Celik said Mr Asselborn lacked knowledge of history, and that Ankara's actions should be equated to efforts to "protect democracy during the fight against the Nazis".

"The Nazis are like apprentices when compared with Gulenist terror organisations," he said.

Irish Independent

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