ANKARA:President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday accused the US and Europe of “meddling” in Turkey’s affairs after statements from Western allies following his ruling party’s challenge to local election results.
Erdogan and his AKP suffered an upset in Sunday’s ballot when results showed the party lost the capital Ankara and was narrowly defeated in Istanbul, the country’s largest city and economic hub.
While the United States has called on Turkey to accept the results, the European Union urged Ankara to allow elected officials to “exercise their mandate freely”.
But Erdogan rejected the remarks and told the US and Europe to “know your place”.
“America and Europe are… meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs,” Erdogan said in his first direct remarks to journalists since Monday.
“Turkey gave a democracy lesson to the whole world,” he added.
US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said “free and fair elections are essential for any democracy, and this means acceptance of legitimate election results are essential” during a briefing on Tuesday.
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic on Monday said Brussels expected elected local representatives to be able “to exercise their mandate freely and in line with the principles of the Council of Europe (rights group) to which Turkey is of course party.”
Andrew Dawson, head of a delegation from the Council of Europe in Turkey to observe the vote, said on Monday his team was “not fully convinced that Turkey currently has the free and fair electoral environment which is necessary for genuinely democratic elections in line with European values and principles.”