In an exclusive interview with Daily Sabah, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said Ankara’s EU bid depends on developments that will take place in the EU in 2017, saying that the bloc did not keep its promises to Turkey regarding the migrant deal. He added that Turkey cannot be expected to prevent people from migrating to Europe if the migrant deal falls apart
Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik said that the European Union did not keep its promises regarding the Turkish-EU migrant deal with Turkey, adding that from his perspective, there is no reason to maintain the agreement. Minister Çelik added that if the agreement is abolished, Turkey would do whatever it can to prevent the deaths of refugees in sea or land. However, he stressed that the country will not have the official responsibility to prevent people from migrating to Europe.
Commenting on the future of the EU, he said that after the Brexit process, it was clear that the EU could not remain the same and that Turkey’s EU bid and policies depend on developments that will take place in 2017, while stressing that regardless of the EU’s decline or improvement, there will be new opportunities for Turkey to seize.
Regarding recent tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands, Minister Çelik said that the future of bilateral relations depends on the Netherlands, while underlining that Turkey expects an apology from the Netherlands for normalization to take place.Çelik said that Turkey will continue with new sanctions against the Dutch government and Turkey will respond to their threats with national honor. However, he assured Dutch investors and businesspeople, saying that they do not have any issues with their businesses and he emphasized that Turkey has no intention to punish businesspeople for the misconduct of their government.
Daily Sabah: How do you evaluate the recently strained relations between Turkey and the Netherlands?
Ömer Çelik: All of these happened right in front of the whole world. Using our democratic rights, we wanted to hold meetings to inform Turkish citizens living in the Netherlands about the upcoming referendum, as we did in many other countries in Europe. However, looking at what has transpired, we see that the Netherlands is acting against the European Convention on Human Rights, along with the Vienna Convention. Moreover, we witnessed the violent application of force in an EU member country where none thought it could happen. Unfortunately, despite centuries-long friendly relations, the government and prime minister of the Netherlands acted in a hostile way against Turkey.
If we had not known in which country the withdrawal of our foreign minister’s travel permission and the shameful attitude towards our minister of family and social policies took place, we would have guessed it was North Korea, not a member of the EU. Turkey will retaliate diplomatically within the boundaries of law.
DS: Could relations between the two countries normalize under these conditions?
ÖÇ: The future of our relations with the Netherlands depends on what they are going to do. Detainment of our consul and the acts towards our minister of family and social policies are a violation of international law. First, they have to apologize to Turkey for normalization to take place.
New visuals about the events have been revealed. One shows that armed forces were given permission to shoot the bodyguards of our minister, which clearly is an act of terror. This approach doesn’t suit a democratic country. The Rutte government acted in a manner that simultaneously violated the European Convention on Human Rights and the Vienna Convention, while sabotaging relations between Turkey and the Netherlands. It is definitely an act against Turkey’s national honor. Therefore, it is not possible to have a dialogue with the Netherlands unless they take the initiative.
DS: Turkey sent diplomatic notes to the Netherlands. Will there be any economic sanctions against the Netherlands?What we have done was a reaction towards their government and the applications that were conducted by their state. We don’t have any issues with their businesses, NGOs and their people. Therefore, we cannot punish them for the misconduct of their government. We are acting within the boundaries of law. We won’t take any measures against the aforementioned groups in any way.