ANKARA (AA) – Europe should cleanse itself from Islamophobia and racism within its own borders before trying to give Turkey democracy lessons, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
“We are not a country that deserves scolding from Europe,” Erdogan said during a speech at a symposium by the Confederation of Public Servants’ Trade Unions in Ankara. “We are not Europe’s scapegoat. The days of old Turkey are over.”
Erdogan criticized the West’s criticism of Turkey’s ongoing “parallel state” probe, which has seen detentions of several media figures, police officials and members of the judiciary.
“The Turkish government has to criticize itself,” Erdogan said. “We have been deceived by those portraying themselves as our friends.”
“The dirty plots of these treasonists, under the disguise of Hizmet, aim to revive the old Turkey,” Erdogan added.
On Dec. 14, a police operation was launched against senior media figures and police officers in 13 provinces across Turkey for allegedly being affiliated with what the government describes as the “parallel state,” an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country’s institutions, including the judiciary and the police.
More than 20 suspects were taken into custody, alleged to be linked with U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his so-called Gulen movement, also called Hizmet.
In December 2013, an anti-graft probe targeted several high-profile figures, including the sons of three former government ministers and leading Turkish businessmen.
The government denounced the probe as a “dirty plot” constructed by a “parallel state.”
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