Erdogan raps EU over criticism of crackdown on journalists

Erdogan raps EU over criticism of crackdown on journalists

Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:37PM GMT
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/12/20/391119/erdogan-raps-eu-over-criticism/

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at the European Union (EU) over its criticism of recent Turkish crackdown on opposition media, lauding 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 at the General Assembly of Foreign Economic Relations Board in Istanbul on Saturday.

He defended the detention of journalists, saying that some of them were using the profession as a “mask” for other activities.

The Turkish president also criticized the EU for its silence on the torture of detainees at the US-run prisons, the killing of Palestinian journalists at the hands of Israeli forces and the detention of media staff in Egypt.

“They kept silent over the biggest torture claims of the history. We watched the events in Guantanamo. If all of these happened in Turkey, would they keep silent like that?” Erdogan said, adding, “Israel killed 16 journalists this year. Why did you keep silent? In Egypt, dozens of journalists, including Turkish ones, were taken into custody. Why didn’t you say anything?”

His comments came a day after an Istanbul court issued an arrest warrant for self-exiled US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen.

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has called on Turkey to honor its commitments to the new executive administration in Brussels, saying that she was totally “surprised” at the recent arrests of high-profile Turkish media activists.

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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