European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Turkey Wednesday to “let our journalists go” following its arrests of French and German media personnel under a broad human rights crackdown.
“Turkey has been taking giant strides away from the European Union for some time,” Juncker said during his annual state of the union speech to the European parliament in Strasbourg.
“Journalists belong in newsrooms not in prisons. They belong where freedom of expression reigns. The call I make to those in power in Turkey is this: Let our journalists go. And not just them either. Stop insulting our Member States by comparing their leaders to fascists and Nazis. Europe is a continent of mature democracies. Insults create roadblocks. Sometimes I get the feeling Turkey is intentionally placing these roadblocks so that it can blame Europe for any breakdown in accession talks,” he said.
“As for us, we will always keep our hands stretched out towards the great Turkish people and those who are ready to work with us on the basis of our values,” he added.