[UPDATE] EU rapporteur clarifies comments distorted by Turkish daily

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Turkey Rapporteur for the European Parliament Kati Piri issued a statement on Thursday saying comments she made in an interview had been distorted by the Habertürk daily, which claimed that Piri said the Gülen movement was the mastermind of a failed coup on July 15.

A Twitter follower of Piri asked whether or not she really told the Turkish daily that she had no doubt that “Gülenists are behind the coup.” Piri confirmed the interview, which was published on Thursday, but denied having made such a remark.

Correcting the Habertürk distortion, Piri said: “I stated the following, however: It is possible that Gülenists could be among [the] putschists, but we do not know whether this is a personal or an organized act. The judges should make the verdict on this issue and you should be punished if you committed a crime.”

Despite Piri’s denial the Turkish media was quick to quote Piri to support President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s narrative that the Gülen movement was the mastermind of the coup. One of Turkey’s two English-language dailies, the Hürriyet Daily News, also quoted the Habertürk interview without verification from Piri.

Acknowledging the complaints of pro-government circles in Turkey, Piri had earlier admitted that as Europe, they were not able to fully comprehend the impact of the coup on the Turkish nation while expressing concern about the massive post-coup purge that is still taking place in the country.

 

Piri to Dutch media: I did not mean Gülen ordered the coup

Meanwhile, Piri’s interview with the Habertürk daily made news in her home country of the Netherlands due to her distorted remarks. She was asked on a radio show why she argued that the Gülen movement was responsible for the coup despite the lack of evidence. In response, Piri said:

“I did not say it, but everyone from the government to the opposition does. I did not mean the Gülen movement or say the order was given from Pennsylvania [where Gülen resides]. The fact that a couple of Gülenists within the army did it would not implicate the movement as a whole.”

When asked whether she regrets giving an interview to the Turkish media since her distorted remarks are being disseminated in Turkey, Piri said she cannot read what a Turkish paper writes when giving an interview and urged everyone to listen to her speech at the European Parliament last week. Piri also thanked the Dutch media for allowing her to correct the distortion made by the Turkish media.

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