The Turkish president, who seeks to significantly expand his own political powers in a referendum next month, continues to “call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Europeans and Westerners throughout the world would not be able to walk safely on the streets if their countries continue their alleged assault on human rights and democracy.
“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets,” said Erdogan in a speech to journalists in Ankara. “We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy.”
Turkey has been in a spat with at least two European Union member states, the Netherlands and Germany, over their decision to ban Turkish ministers from taking part in demonstrations in those countries with the purpose of rallying support from Turkish immigrants on a referendum next month that would significantly expand Erdogan’s powers.
The referendum would reportedly abolish the position of prime minister and keep Erdogan in office until 2029, essentially curtailing the democratic and electoral process.
Turkey, which received international condemnation regarding its crackdown on an attempted coup last summer, is estimated to be holding approximately 150 journalists in jail, which raises alarm over the country’s level of freedom of expression.
By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News