Davutoglu accuses EU of ‘dirty campaign’ against Turkey

Davutoglu accuses EU of ‘dirty campaign’ against Turkey

Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:31PM GMT

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has denounced the European Union (EU) over its criticism of a recent police crackdown on opposition media by Turkish government, accusing the bloc of starting a “dirty campaign” against Turkey.

“The EU even made its statement on a holiday. With this statement, they started a dirty campaign concerning our government,” Davutoglu said at a congress of his ruling Justice and Development Party in capital, Ankara, on Sunday.

In a statement released on December 14, EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and EU’s Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn said any move toward Turkey’s membership in the EU depended on “full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights.”

The raids and arrests “are incompatible with the freedom of media, which is a core principle of democracy,” the pair said.

Davutoglu said, “With this dirty campaign, they are waging a defamation campaign against our government and our country.”

The remarks come a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded as “clean and lawful” the legal process against his opponents.

“I have been watching this process closely as president of this country. Everything is lawful and in line with procedure…. A really diligent and clean process is going on at the moment,” Erdogan said in the city of Istanbul on Saturday.

On December 19, an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for self-exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkish security forces stormed the offices of Samanyolu TV network and Zaman daily newspaper in Istanbul on December 14. Both the television network and the newspaper are said to be close to Gulen.

Erdogan has accused Gulen and his supporters of being behind last year’s online leaks and wiretaps that disclosed major corruption in Erdogan’s inner circle. Gulen has repeatedly denied any involvement.

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