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Turkey’s EU Affairs minister calls EU rapporteur Piri ‘racist’ for call to end talks

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Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik said on Monday that those who call for the European Union to end membership negotiations with Turkey are not friends of Europe but simply racists, referring to a recent call by Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, for the suspension of talks.

Speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Monday, Çelik said Turkey is confident on its way to full membership and that he is dedicated to that mission as the EU affairs minister.

Those who call for an end to talks with Turkey are not friends of Europe. They are racists. Calling for an end for talks [with Turkey] shows a lack of foresight and vision for those politicians [in Europe] who don’t want to lose votes to marginal parties in their countries,” he said.

Speaking to a Dutch media outlet, Piri reacted strongly against the detention of nine Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and the party’s two co-chairs on Friday. During the early hours of the detention operations, Piri had tweeted that very bad news was coming from Turkey.

Piri described the detentions as “nonsense” and stated that Turkey is fast becoming a dictatorship.

Ten deputies in total including HDP Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ have been arrested since Friday.

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