Speaking at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting held in İstanbul on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused European Union countries of “supporting terrorism.”
Erdoğan said he cannot “digest” the fact that Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants roam freely in EU countries, He also directed attention to the fact that Turkey has the second largest army in NATO.
Accusing Western countries without mentioning any by name except Belgium, Erdoğan said the double-talk of countries when it comes to terrorist organizations would cost them within their own borders.
Turkey’s president, who has become increasingly vocal in his public criticism of the EU, called on Europe to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism, continuing his efforts to label the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization despite the lack of any court verdict or terrorist activity. Referring to the Gülen movement as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” (FETÖ), Erdoğan asked for Europe and NATO’s help in his fight against the movement.
Going further, Erdoğan criticized Western support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, namely the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and argued that the designated terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq happen to have weapons that were produced in the West. “Could you describe one terrorist organization as good [the YPG] because it is fighting against the other [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, ISIL]?” he asked in his address to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in İstanbul. He also noted that Al Nusra fights against ISIL based on such logic but is considered a terrorist organization, an argument he often makes.
Despite Turkey’s long established ties with NATO, since 1952, Erdoğan over the weekend again suggested joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian political, economic and military organization led by China and Russia, instead of insisting on becoming a member of the European Union.