Erdogan said the EU should change its own laws on terrorism first and said he hoped Europe would live up to its promise on visa-free travel by October
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech at a meeting of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara, Turkey, May 10, 2016. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE., photo: Presidential Palace/Murat Cetinmuhurdar via Reuters
10 of May 2016 11:00:49
ANKARA — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused European nations on Tuesday of being safe havens for the political wings of terrorist groups and said it was a "black comedy" for the Europe Union to lecture Ankara on changing its anti-terrorism laws.His comments will further dampen European hopes that it can be 'business as usual' with Turkey following the departure of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, seen by many in the EU as a more liberal face of the Turkish government after he negotiated a landmark deal with the bloc on migration.The EU last week asked member states to grant visa-free travel to Turks in return for Ankara stopping migrants reaching Europe, but said Turkey still had to change some legislation, including bringing its terrorism laws into line with EU standards.[caption id="attachment_16683" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara, Turkey, May 10, 2016. Photo: Presidential Palace/Murat Cetinmuhurdar via Reuters[/caption]In a speech in Ankara, Erdogan said the EU should change its own laws on terrorism first and said he hoped Europe would live up to its promise on visa-free travel by October at the latest."European countries continue to be safe havens for the political extensions of terrorist groups. When this is the case, it's a piece of black comedy that the EU criticizes our country over the definition of terrorism," he said."First of all, we expect EU countries to fix their own laws that support terrorism."Erdogan is still seething over the presence of protesters sympathetic to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group near an EU-Turkey summit in Brussels in March, which he said at the time demonstrated the EU's "two-faced" behavior.The PKK has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey's southeast, a conflict which has flared anew since the collapse of a ceasefire last July. Turkey, the EU and the United States all consider the PKK a terrorist group.Erdogan has also in the past accused Belgium of being soft on militant groups and said EU authorities had shown themselves "incapable" after Turkey deported a militant Islamist who was then released. The man was one of the attackers involved in the Islamic State suicide bombings in Brussels in March.
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