EU calls on Turkey to de-escalate tension with member states

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By NTD Newsroom
March 13, 2017World News
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The European Commission on Monday (March 13) called on Turkey to refrain from excessive statements and actions that could fuel a diplomatic row over Turkish politicians seeking to hold rallies in EU countries to promote a constitutional referendum.

The Turkish Cabinet was expected to consider imposing sanctions on the Netherlands on Monday over a ban on its ministers speaking at political events in Rotterdam. One minister said punitive measures were likely.

“Following the tensions of these last days between Turkey and some of our member states, it is essential we believe to avoid further escalation and find ways to calm down the situation.

Decisions with regard to the holding of meetings and rallies in our member states are a matter for the member states’ concerns,” European Commission chief spokeswoman Margaritas Schinas, said.

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, said now is the time for political dialogue between Turkey and several other Council of Europe member states.

“We appeal to all to de-escalate the language, to de-escalate the actions so that every Turkish citizen, whether abroad inside the country, can be informed about the pros and cons of this important constitutional amendment. All citizens should have the right. Everybody should have the right to campaign, not only those in favour of the constitutional amendments but also those who are against them. They should have equal rights in and outside the country,” Secretary General of the Council of Europe spokesman Daniel Holtgen, said.

The Strasbourg-based council promotes human rights and democracy in its 47 member states, which include nearly all the European nations from Iceland to Russia.

The European Union will assess planned Turkish constitutional changes in light of the country’s status as a candidate for EU membership.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking support from Turks in a referendum on boosting his powers, has accused the Dutch government of acting like “Nazi remnants” and said it should face sanctions for barring his ministers from addressing expatriate Turks to drum up votes.

The row marks another low point in relations between Turkey and Europe, further dimming Ankara’s prospects of joining the bloc.

 

(Reuters)

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