EU reactions: Swoboda accuses Erdoğan of using Hizmet movement as an excuse

Socialist leader Hannes Swoboda accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of using the Hizmet movement as an excuse to backtrack on reforms, during their meeting in the European Parliament on Tuesday.

EU sources told Today’s Zaman that Swoboda, the leader of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, grilled Erdoğan on his recent actions vis-à-vis the corruption investigations in which some of his Cabinet ministers have been implicated. The veteran Socialist leader accused Erdoğan of using the Hizmet movement to halt reforms, stressing that the prime minister had supported the movement a year ago and asked why he now saw the movement as a threat.

Erdoğan has crafted an international conspiracy theory to explain the corruption scandal in which the Hizmet movement is accused of being “domestic collaborators.”

“You were still supporting the Hizmet movement a year ago. Now you use the movement as an excuse for halting reforms. Why do you see them as a danger to Turkey now?” he asked.

Sources said Swoboda made it very clear that the EU was very concerned about the state of the rule of law in Turkey. “We are very concerned about the rule of law and the separation of powers, especially the independence of the judiciary,” he stressed.

Swoboda’s office, when contacted by Today’s Zaman, confirmed the Socialist leader’s statements.

Swoboda also criticized Erdoğan for often bringing up foreign conspiracy theories. “You refer to foreign conspiracy theories to explain unfolding events, just like you did with the Gezi Park demonstrations,” Swoboda said.

The Socialist leader also tried to find out why the government now wanted to change the law on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), which it supported just three years ago. Swoboda reminded Erdoğan that he had faced problems with their sister party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), simply because Swoboda had supported the constitutional amendments made in 2010. “I personally supported the constitutional amendment of September 2010 — as you know very well — at the cost of conflicts with the CHP, our sister party. It is not international forces but you who want to change it now. Why?” he asked.

Co-chairman of the Greens Daniel Cohn-Bendit was equally critical. Cohn-Bendit told Erdoğan that he had declared that he did not recognize the European Parliament (EP) when it passed a resolution back in June but was now telling them how the EP is an important institution. Cohn-Bendit asked Erdoğan which version was true.

He also stressed that the conspiracy theories which Erdoğan often refers to reminds him of Kemalists and their theories to explain the problems in the country.

 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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