EU Parliament’s Weber Says Democracy Must Be Defended in Turkey

(Bloomberg) -- Manfred Weber, leader of the European Parliament’s Christian Democratic group, said democracy and the rule of law must be defended in Turkey in the wake of the foiled attempted coup.

“In these difficult hours, a government is at its strongest if it firmly upholds the very values and principles for which it is under attack,” Weber said in an e-mailed statement on Sunday. “Democracy, the rule of law, the separation of powers and fundamental freedoms must be defended.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered massive reprisals following the failed coup attempt, with senior generals among more than 2,800 military personnel arrested. Surviving the plot gives Erdogan more ammunition to crack down on his opponents.

“The Turkish government must now refrain from actions that would lead the country further away from Europe,” Weber said. “The citizens of both Turkey and the European Union have every interest in a close partnership in fields such as economic growth and migration,” he said.

“I express my condolences to the families of the victims and reiterate my full support for the democratic institutions of Turkey,” Weber said.