Turkey summons EU envoy over critical comments on migrant deal – reports

Turkey has summoned the EU’s envoy because of critical comments he made last week concerning the migrant deal between Brussels and Ankara, Reuters reports, citing Turkish Foreign Ministry sources.

“We have conveyed the anger felt over the ambassador’s comments to him, and that we condemn the expressions he used,” one of the sources said.

The head of the European Union’s delegation to Turkey, Hansjoerg Haber, was called to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday to provide an explanation for critical comments he made during a press conference on May 13, Turkish media report.

Turkish EU Minister and Chief Negotiator Volkan Bozkır had already slammed Haber for his remarks. Bozkir assailed Haber on his official Twitter account in several critical posts, demanding that the EU envoy explain what he meant by the German saying “Starting like a Turk, ending like a German” when referring to the EU-Turkey visa liberalization deal.

“The German ambassador of the EU should explain to the Turkish nation what he meant when he said ‘like a German and like a Turk.’ No diplomat, and especially no ambassador, can address the president of a country where he is posted for his job like this,” Bozkır said in his Twitter posts on May 14.

“An ambassador does not have the right to humiliate the country and people where he is located and say a word against the president. This is the first principle of diplomacy,” he added, stressing that he “expects that EU Ambassador Haber, who is proud to be a German, will make an explanation about this issue or do ‘what is necessary.’”

According to the Hurriyet Daily, Haber said during a press conference that an old German saying, “starting like a Turk and ending like a German,” had been reversed when it comes to Turkey fulfilling the 72 criteria stipulated as requirements for the visa liberalization deal with the EU to go through.

“We have a proverb. ‘To start like a Turk and end like a German,’ but it has been just the opposite here,” Haber said, Hurriyet Daily reports.

According to the Daily Sabah, the proverb that Haber referred to means “to start doing something with a strong enthusiasm and to continue it in a well-disciplined way to accomplish it.”

In this case, Haber was allegedly insinuating that Turkey’s authorities lack the discipline and will to fulfill their commitments under the deal. He also stressed that the criteria which Turkey needs to meet for the EU to ease its visa requirements for Turkish citizens have been “clear” since 2013.

On May 11, the European Parliament put the visa liberalization process on hold, citing Turkey’s failure to fulfill the necessary criteria.