Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the ongoing “yellow vests” protest movement reveals Europe’s failure in democracy, human rights and freedom, speaking at a rally in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
“Let me say this again: we are against both the chaos caused by protesters and the disproportionate violence being used against them. However, the picture at the hand shows that Europe failed the exam of democracy, human rights and freedoms,” said Erdogan on Saturday.
Erdogan further highlighted Europe’s shortcomings in meeting the demands of its own citizens, saying that “the security and prosperity walls they care about so much were shaken, not by migrants or Muslims but by their own citizens.”
“Those who provoked enmity against migrants and Islamophobia fell in their own ditch.”
Addressing Turkey’s long-time concerns about Kurdish terrorist groups freely operating in Europe, Erdogan went on to stress how these groups have played part in orchestrating unrest in the ongoing protests.
“The sympathizers of the separatist terrorist organization (referencing the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK militant group), who we warned them (Europe) not to protect and support for years, are now among the primary perpetrators of this chaos,” said the Turkish President.
“The PKK’s branches are there. The DHKP-C (People’s Liberation Army-Front terror group) is there.”
Erdogan’s particular comment on the Kurdish groups comes as numerous videos and images posted online from the Paris protests show signs and inscriptions related to the various Kurdish separatist groups.
The “yellow vest” movement began three weeks ago over a planned fuel-tax hike, but has since snowballed into a general movement against French President Emmanuel Macron’s perceived elitist governance.
Macron, who is expected to address the nation early next week, is now experiencing the biggest crisis since being elected 18 months ago.
During ongoing nationwide protests on Saturday, French police announced to have detained more than 1,000 protesters. The demonstrations are said to have mobilized 31,000 people across the country, 8,000 of whom participated in rallies in the French capital of Paris.