EU painting terror group as NGO is very wrong: Turkey

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Turkey blasted the EU on Wednesday for painting the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) — the group behind a defeated July 2016 coup — as an “innocent NGO.”

"It's is extremely wrong to mention FETO as an innocent non-governmental organization," Omer Celik, Turkey’s EU minister, told a news conference in the capital Ankara.

His remarks come a day after the European Commission released a report on the state of Turkey’s EU accession bid, after a one-and-a-half-year hiatus since the last report.

While calling the July 2016 defeated coup attempt, which martyred 250 people and injured some 2,200, "a traumatic period in Turkey," the report’s description of FETO is unchanged from the November 2016 report, with both calling the terrorist group the "Gulen movement."

Celik added that the EU report “noted that Gulen movement is designated as a terrorist organization by the [Turkish] government. This is progress, even if partially, and cannot be considered real progress."

Celik also accused the EU of being biased and not objective towards Turkey.

"Leaving Turkey's member country perspective aside and only [focusing on] cooperation on other issues, going back to neighborhood policy, is not acceptable," Celik said.

Celik charged that the EU report doesn't present fair, objective, criticisms with a positive future perspective.

"It is a report which has no vision and content, which is far from understanding the intensity, dimensions and perspective of relations, and it also lags behind events," he said.

Celik also criticized the report for not encouraging closer relations between Turkey and the EU, pointing to the part saying that "no new chapters [in Turkey’s EU accession process] are considered for opening."

"Talking about not opening new chapters means denying commitment to the March 18 deal," Celik said, referring to a 2016 deal meant to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean while improving conditions for the 3 million-plus Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The deal between Ankara and Brussels also allowed for the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area.

Celik said although the report stressed that Turkey had fulfilled its responsibilities to the refugees, left unmentioned was the EU’s failure to do its share.

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