He was expected to say this, but I hope privately he wished the plotters were successful.

Foreign Minister: Finland supports, respects Turkey’s elected government

Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini spoke with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä on Saturday about the shocking events that transpired in Turkey overnight.

Timo Soini
Timo Soini Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

Finland’s Foreign Minister Timo Soini has spoken with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä about the events in Turkey.

“We went through it together and we concluded that the fundamental issues that are always important to Finland are that powers change in elections and in a democracy that must be honoured. Of course the situation has been unclear during the night and it is difficult to go into the details because we don’t know everything. But Finland’s position is clear: we respect and support the elected government”, Soini said.

Earlier on Saturday Turkish President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan appeared in Istanbul to denounce a coup attempt that took place late Friday night. A faction of the army had previously declared a military takeover, but Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later ordered the military to shoot down helicopters used by the plotters. Some 60 people died in clashes overnight, most of them civilians. Officials said they arrested more than 700 soldiers.

The Foreign Minister described Turkey’s post-election situation as challenging.

“Of course it’s we known that Turkey’s internal politics has been challenging from time to time. There was an election result that at first didn’t lead to the formation of a government, and there was a second round. But there has been turbulence in the government and ministers have changed. But even in all the drama this coup attempt has come as a surprise”, he added.

“Violence is always the wrong way to accomplish things and a political agenda.”

Soini said that Finland will play a role in sorting out the situation in cooperation with the international community.

“Turkey is an important state and its stability is of extreme importance. For its part Finland will join the international community to ensure that the situation is under control. Of course the post mortem will be tough and in that instance it is important to remember human rights”, the minister noted.

However he pointed out that the situation is still fluid.

“There must be a thorough understanding of what has happened and that will also influence on the conclusions drawn. But when these things happen, they are worrying and serious. This is happening in Europe’s doorstep – and when we consider the situation in Syria and Turkey’s role overall, which is significant and its large population – then communicating stability and democracy is a priority. The basic message must be that democracy triumphs over violence.”

At least 1,500 Finns in Turkey

Given the uncertain situation, the Foreign Ministry has expressed concern about Finns currently in Turkey.

“It now seems that this coup attempt has not succeeded but the situation may still be dangerous. Alongside general stability and security and the protection of human rights I am of course concerned about the status of Finns.”

“Istanbul is a very large airport with connections to all corners of the world and it’s the focal point. Many trips will now be called off and I now call on all sides to stay calm”, the minister commented.

So far some 1,500 Finns have lodged travel notifications with the Foreign Ministry, however the total number of Finns in Turkey may be larger. The minister called on Finns to contact their relatives and to remain indoors an away from places where there is a risk of being caught up in any coup-related activities.

“The Foreign Ministry and our embassy in Ankara is providing constant updates and information and responding to questions as far as possible. We are following the situation closely”, Soini said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.