Yonet Tezel: It is time to abandon stereotypes about Turkey

Senior European officials have dramatically changed the rhetoric and accused the Turkish authorities of organizing the coup.

26 July 2016 18:43

In recent days hundreds of people have been killed in Turkey, thousands arrested and tens of thousands dismissed. Since then Turkey has faced harsh criticism of the West. The events in Turkey are very important for Ukraine. This country has always been our strategic partner, and due to the Russia’s aggression and the annexation of Crimea the importance of its support has increased, the Turkey's Ambassador to Ukraine Yonet Can Tezel told about the European countries’ stance towards the Turkish authorities following a failed attempt to organize a military coup.

QHA: On the night of the coup the leaders of many EU member states voiced support for the current Turkish government. But how is this support going now? Their rhetoric has changed. In particular, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that a military coup was initiated by the Turkish authorities, and the media has spread this statement.

Yonet Can Tezel: First of all, we are grateful to countries that from the first moment expressed the solidarity with us, with our democratic reforms, government, parliament and the President. Turkey is especially grateful to the Ukrainian Government and the President.

However, the European Union is a difficult entity. There are some prejudices in Europe to Turkey from the past. I feel that these prejudices and biases have affected a proper visionary thinking in Europe.

Such radical statements saying the coup was organized by the Turkish authorities aren’t in line with what you might expect from a democratic society. After all, the European counterparts could say the same about the events on Maidan. But Europe didn’t judge Maidan revolution and stood with the people’s democratic expressions. That is what Turkey wants, nothing else.

We don’t want any preferential treatment. But some critical judgments were, frankly, hypothetical and seemingly based on finished scenarios. This is bad. I’m sure, my European and western colleagues, as well as Ambassadors in Turkey have a good vision about current events in Turkey.

The President and the Turkey’s political elite believe Europe is a successful integration project. We are committed to the European standards and we want to raise the living standards of the Turkish people. We are moving in this direction. However, Europe must take the Turkey’s choice and give up prejudice and subjectivity.

QHA: How do you think, does Europe believe in a democratic process in Turkey after the coup?

Yonet Can Tezel: Turkey is on the way to democracy. This path is a people’s choice. The government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to carry out reforms and improve social standards. We have been given a task, and we are fulfilling it. However, we need the Europe’s support.

I want to stress Europe also needs democratic Turkey. This is a mutually rewarding process. It is in the interest of Europe to broad the sphere of stability, peace and democracy in our region.

If EU needs criticism, so it can be made, but more constructively, not to express criticism in the way of threats.

QHA: Is it right, to your mind, to temporarily stop the European Convention on Human Rights?

Yonet Can Tezel: When the government decided to instate a rule of emergency it was governed by the law norms. Our constitution allows these extra precautions that are similar with France that extended the rule of emergency for 7 month since it was a need. The similar security measures were taken in Germany following the attack in Munich. The emergency state in Turkey won’t last longer than it is necessary.

The international law allows taking exceptional precautions. Actually, the Turkish authorities did the same thing. Of course, such actions partially deviate from the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights, but so do the rest of the countries.