Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday that Europe should not interfere in a referendum on April 16 that will expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers.
Speaking during a rally in Karaman province on Tuesday, Yıldırım said Europe should “mind its own business.”
“We, as Turkey, don’t have any problem with anyone. But, we won’t OK those who want to create a crisis. I am warning Europe here, don’t interfere in our domestic issues, mind your own business. Everyone must know their place. Is it your business to let the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] organize protests [in the EU]? Is it your business to embrace FETÖ [a derogatory term and acronym for the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by Turkish authorities to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement and its followers, which is accused of being behind a failed coup in last summer]?”
Turkey’s relations with various European countries have recently become strained due to the cancellation of rallies planned to be held by Turkish ministers in order to seek the support of Turkish expatriates for a referendum in Turkey on April 16 that will expand Erdoğan’s powers and change Turkey into an executive presidency.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 which killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, AKP government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10.