Turkey: ‘Take your dirty hands off Turkey’ – Interior minister to US ambassador

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu publicly criticised the US ambassador to Ankara, telling him to take his ‘dirty hands’ off the country, during a speech in Antalya on Friday.

“Every US ambassador who comes to Turkey is in a hurry about … how I will make a coup d’etat. … What can I do, how can I harm Turkey, how can I help my superiors? … He gathers other ambassadors, he whispers furtively with them,” Soylu claimed.

“I say to the American ambassador here: I know which journalists you use to write articles, take your dirty hands off Turkey,” he continued. “We know what you are doing, what steps you have taken, how much you want to stir up Turkey.”

Ankara summoned the US ambassador Jeffry Flake and those from eight other European countries after they temporarily shut their embassies in Turkey and issued travel warnings, following a series of Quran-burning protests.

Soylu accused them via Twitter of waging ‘psychological war’ on his country, after Turkey condemned the destruction of the holy book.

Danish politician Rasmus Paludan, leader of the Hard Line party, set fire to a copy of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm on January 21. Sweden’s authorities said the actions were legal under free speech laws.

Paludan repeated his actions outside a mosque in Copenhagen, while Dutch right-wing leader, Edwin Wagensveld tore pages out of the book and stamped on them near the parliament in The Hague.

Ankara subsequently cancelled NATO accession talks with Sweden and Finland. The Nordic countries requires Turkey’s approval to join the US-led bloc.

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