Turkey warns European Union it is making "serious mistakes" over failed coup

A day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, NATO has released a press statement stating NATO's stance regarding the failed coup in Turkey and Turkey's NATO membership. "Both Turkey and Russian Federation are important players when it comes to searching for ways of resolving the Syrian crisis", TASS cited Shebli as saying.

"We do not think that the rapprochement between Turkey and Russian Federation will impact partnership within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

The visit was closely watched in the West, where some fear both men, powerful leaders ill-disposed to dissent, might use their detente to pressure Washington and the European Union and stir tensions within North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, of which Turkey is a member.

US officials from President Obama on down have said they have no control over extradition requests, which must go through an impartial legal process.

Although Russian gas sales to Turkey continued, the countries' $30 billion in annual trade decreased by 43 percent, Mr. Putin said.

He said support for European Union membership in Turkey had fallen because of the bloc's sympathetic attitude towards those who carried out the July 15 coup attempt. Moscow's military support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has been credited for helping to keep him in power. Turkish newspapers have gone one step further, publishing pictures of a top USA general under the headline, "The Man Behind the Coup". Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership is not in question. "He expressed support for the elected government of Turkey and respect for the courage of the Turkish people", said Lungescu.

The EU has urged Ankara to act within the rule of law while condemning Erdogan for suggesting the country could bring back the death penalty, abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey's reforms to join the union. Russia and Turkey have been on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict, and the two leaders had been at each other's throats since November, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that it said had violated its airspace on the Syrian border. "It is a very interesting time, but I don't think we should be rash in drawing any conclusions", said Lavelle.

Cavusoglu said: "We (Turkey) especially don't want attacks that harm civilians".

Their meeting in St Petersburg came nearly nine months after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border, prompting Russian sanctions.

Cavusoglu on Wednesday also denied that Erdogan's visit to St. Petersburg was meant to send a message to Turkey's allies in the West, which Ankara accuses of not showing Turkey sufficient support since last month's failed coup.

  • Jon Douglas