10 February 2013
PM Erdogan fired back on Saturday in his first public reaction at remarks made by top US envoy about Turkey's judicial system.
ISTANBUL -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired back on Saturday in his first public reaction at remarks made by top US envoy in Ankara about Turkey's judicial system.
"No one should misunderstand our patience, tolerance or our friendship. Turkey is not anyone's whipping boy. No one can dare to meddle in Turkey's internal affairs nor put one's nose into its legislative, judicial and executive systems. Turkey is not country to get foreign policy directions from abroad," Erdogan told an Istanbul meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party without openly mentioning name of the US ambassador in Ankara, Francis Ricciardone, whose remarks sparked a salvo of criticisms within Turkish government ranks.
In his remarks on February 5 to Ankara bureau chiefs of the Turkish media, the US envoy said lawmakers, military leaders and students were behind bars for long periods of time in Turkey on what he said sometimes unclear charges.
"When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up. We are working to reconcile our legal processes in both countries," Ricciardone told the media chiefs.
PM Erdogan slams European countries over terrorism
Erdogan said Saturday his country would show no more patience over what he said Europe's tolerance on terror groups that targeted security forced and civilians in Turkey.
"The latest incident in Paris and the attack on the US Embassy which killed a Turkish national wounded a Turkish journalist have shown the urgent necessity to question relation between Europe and terror. Turkey will advance on this relationship with utmost resolve," Erdogan told.
Erdogan also accused Europe of failing to show the necessary solidarity with Turkey in fighting terrorism, which he said had cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the past three decades.
"Certain European countries have been protecting murderers who are sought through international arrest warrants. Leaders of terrorists groups freely walk in Europe and they freely control their terror networks from abroad. In the middle of Berlin, the separatists can erect a tent to collect financial aid for the terrorist organization in millions of euros," Erdogan said.
Turkish premier says anti-terrorism financing law balanced
Erdogan sought to ease concerns over a recently adopted law against terrorist financing and money laundering that introduces stricter measures, saying the law was carefully balanced between freedoms and security.
"The law was drafted with utmost diligence and care to secure a balance between human rights, rule of law and security [...] Decisions will be made without doing harm to anyone," Erdogan told.
Turkey was long expected to align its anti-terrorist financing law with the 36-member intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which combats money laundering and terrorist financing in the international financial system, or the country risked suspension of its FATF membership if it failed to meet a February 22 deadline to adopt the provisions.
Compliance with the FATF regulations obliges Turkey to freeze suspected bank accounts without seeking a clearance from judicial authorities as well as stricter monitoring of money transactions.
Turkey argues that certain European countries condone financial activities to raise money for the terrorist PKK organization, which is also listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.
The law also came under domestic criticisms that it might be used arbitrarily.