The head of the European Commission (EC) urges Turkey to stop comparing EU leaders to “Nazis,” saying Ankara’s behavior has cast chances of its EU membership far-off.
Jean-Claude Juncker made the remarks during the State of the European Union address to the members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.
He said Turkey has for some time been “moving away from the European Union in leaps and bounds.” He pleaded with the country to free European journalists and criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the government in Ankara for calling EU leaders “fascists and Nazis.”
“Sometimes I get the feeling Turkey is intentionally placing these roadblocks so that it can blame Europe for any breakdown in accession talks,” he said.
“As for us, we will always keep our hands stretched out towards the great Turkish people and those who are ready to work with us on the basis of our values,” he added.
There are 12 German political prisoners in Turkey, including Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel, the Istanbul correspondent for the Die Welt newspaper, who has spent more than 200 days in custody, and is to go on trial on “terror” charges.
The country has also put a number of French journalists behind bars, including a student named Loup Bureau. “I appeal to the powers that be in Turkey, let our journalists go,” Juncker said.—Agencies