'Racist sectors set the political mainstream in Europe'

Amid efforts to keep Turkish officials away from European rallies, presidential spokesman calls EU's situation troubling

'Racist sectors set the political mainstream in Europe'

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday that reprehensible racist sectors are setting the agenda of mainstream politics in Europe.

Speaking to reporters at the Presidential Complex, Kalin said Turkey is saddened by European governments cancelling scheduled rallies for Turkey’s April 16 constitutional referendum, calling the EU’s current situation troubling.

Kalin's remarks followed German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Berlin of "Nazi practices" are intolerable.

Merkel said that the Nazi remarks are "sad and incredibly misplaced" and “must stop". 

Kalin said, however, “It is indeed Turkey that is saddened by Germany's systematic antagonism against Erdogan and Turkey."

"What is really sad is the cancellation of the visits. What is really sad is blocking Turkish politicians while opening doors to all terror organizations," he said, referring to past rallies held in Europe by terrorist groups such as the PKK.

Relations between the two countries plunged recently after German authorities cancelled rallies that Turkish government ministers had planned to address ahead of Turkey’s April 16 referendum on constitutional changes.

Nearly 3 million Turkish migrants live in Germany, and around half are eligible to vote in the referendum.


- Israel’s proposed restrictions on the call to prayer

Kalin also expressed concern over the advancement of a controversial Israeli bill that would restrict the use of loudspeakers to amplify the Muslim call to prayer (adhan).

"It is a violation of freedom of worship, and an alarming development," said Kalin. 

A preliminary reading of the bill was approved 55-45 in a tumultuous parliamentary session which saw Arab lawmakers shout “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”).

The draft legislation aims to stop mosques from using loudspeakers to amplify the Muslim call to prayer in Israel and Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem from 11 pm to 7 am. 

The bill imposes fines on violators of some $1,300-$2,600.

Second and third readings of the bill must still be approved by the Knesset before it becomes law.


- Raqqah operation

Kalin also said Ankara and Washington are currently discussing how to carry out a possible operation on Raqqah, Syria -- ISIL's self-proclaimed capital -- and how Turkey would support this.

One terrorist group cannot be beaten by another, Kalin said, adding, "Turkey's plan [for the operation] is clear."

"Trying to fight ISIL through terrorist organizations like the PKK-affiliated PYD/YPG would be like shooting yourself in the foot. Let me speak openly; we see today that there is a different view within the American administration” on the PYD/YPG role, Kalin said. 

The YPG is the PYD’s armed wing.

While the Obama administration saw the PYD as a “reliable ally,” Turkey has consistently stressed that the group is part and parcel of the terrorist PKK.

The new Trump administration’s policy on the PYD is still emerging.

Since it resumed its armed campaign in July 2015, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children.

The PKK/PYD has been accused by human rights groups of committing significant human rights violations in northern and northeastern Syria, including "ethnic cleansing" massacres. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mart 2017, 17:01