Erdogan tells EU to ‘mind own business’ in Turkey media arrests

'The European Union cannot interfere in steps taken ... within the rule of law against elements that threaten our national security,' Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks in Kocaeli yesterday, where he rebuked European Union criticism of police raids on media organisations. Kayhan Ozer / AP Photo
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks in Kocaeli yesterday, where he rebuked European Union criticism of police raids on media organisations. Kayhan Ozer / AP Photo

ISTANBUL // Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told Brussels to “mind its own business” following sharp criticism from the European Union for the mass arrests targeting opposition media outlets.

“The European Union cannot interfere in steps taken ... within the rule of law against elements that threaten our national security,” Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech in Izmit.

“They should mind their own business,” he added, in his first comments after Sunday’s raids.

Turkish police on Sunday arrested more than 20 people, including the editor of Turkey’s biggest-selling newspaper, in lightning raids on supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has become Mr Erdogan’s number one nemesis.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn on Sunday condemned the raids as going “against the European values” and said they were “incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy”.

The unusually strongly worded statement followed a visit to Turkey by the two officials last week on expanding cooperation with Ankara and discussing its long-standing bid to join the bloc.

But Mr Erdogan warned EU officials against pressuring Turkey.

“Elements that threaten our national security will receive the necessary response, even if they are members of the press,” he said.

“When taking such a step we don’t care what the EU might say, or if the EU is going to accept us.

“We don’t care... Please keep your mind to yourself,” the combative president added.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Most Read