President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed the European Union for its “impetuous” criticism of an ongoing operation which has seen the arrests of high-profile media members and police officers in Turkey.
An operation was launched on Sunday in İstanbul and other provinces against people suspected of being affiliated with what the Turkish government describes as the "parallel state," an alleged group of bureaucrats embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and the police, also called as Gulen Movement.
The Gulen Movement is a transnational movement led by the controversial U.S.-based imam Fethullah Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile in rural Pennsylvania, and is accused of being behind the wiretapping of thousands of people including Turkish government officials.
Speaking in Kocaeli on Monday, Erdogan said the EU had no authority to meddle in the internal affairs of Turkey, in response to criticism from European leaders.
"No one has authority to meddle into the steps taken by the Turkish security. The EU should keep its opinions to itself," the president said.
He made the remarks during a speech at the inauguration ceremony of a new refinery facility by the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation, known as the TUPRAS.
Erdogan responded to comments by Federica Mogherini, the European Commission’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, who described Sunday’s police crackdown in Turkey as going against European values.
Referring to the outlawed PKK, Erdogan said: "They should look at their own double standards in failing to punish members of terrorist groups like the PKK."
He also criticized Germany for its alleged failure to conclude cases against PKK members in the country.
The outlawed PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Turkey is currently engaged in a "solution process" with the outlawed group to end more than three decades of fighting that has so far claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Erdogan also reminded the EU for its failure in extraditing Fehriye Erdal, the alleged murderer of Turkish businessman Ozdemir Sabanci in 1996. Erdal is a member of Turkey's outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front.