Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım wasted no time firing back at the United States after the U.S. State Department expressed concern about Turkey’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary snap elections, which were announced this week to be held on June 24.
“We have concerns about (Turkey’s) ability to hold it during this type of state of emergency. We would certainly like to see free and fair elections, but there’s a concern here,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday.
This week, Turkey’s parliament confirmed the seventh consecutive three-month extension of the state of emergency that was announced in July 2016 after a failed coup attempt.
“The United States should mind its own business,” retorted Yıldırım on Friday. “A year and a half have passed since their elections, and they are still discussing irregularities. If they want to see real elections, they should come to Turkey.”
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also quick to respond to Nauert’s comments, stating that holding elections under a state of emergency was hardly unique to Turkey.
“In our country only terrorists have their fundamental rights and freedoms curtailed,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy. “Besides, many countries hold elections under a state of emergency.”
France was a recent example of this, said Aksoy, having held elections in 2017 while still under a state of emergency in place since the 2015 Paris attacks. The U.S. statement was therefore an example of the “double standards” held by certain states when it came to Turkey, he said.
“Moreover, such statements made about an election before it has taken place amount to an intervention against the national will and are unacceptable,” said Aksoy.