The Malta Independent 18 August 2019, Sunday

The way Turkey deals with coup attempt fallout will be watched and judged by the EU - Muscat

Sunday, 17 July 2016, 10:27 Last update: about 4 years ago

Turkey's response to the attempted coup d état on Friday night and its ability to show restraint will be monitored by the European Union, said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Speaking to One Radio through a telephone interview, Dr Muscat said that EU leaders were gathered in Mongolia for a summit when the news broke. He said that leaders discussed the situation and agreed that it is never acceptable to have an armed overthrow of a democratically elected government. He said that the EU, and Malta, immediately expressed themselves on the issue and lent support to Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government. He said that the Turkish government needed to make sure that the country was secure, but he also pointed out that this will be a test for the nation in the eyes of the EU and that restraint must be shown.

"These events cannot be used as a premise for a crackdown on the general public and others. It will be a test for the country  and the EU will be monitoring what happens," he said.

Dr Muscat turned to local issues and referred to the inflation rate. He said that when the inflation rate is stable, as it is in Malta, then there is more money in people's pockets. He also said that in three years, the government had managed to create 20,000 new jobs. He also mentioned the fact that tourism arrivals in Malta were up by about 10% on last year's figures. He also spoke about various reforms instituted by this government, hailing the work of parliamentary secretary Deborah Schembri in the Lands Department in the settign up of a new authority that will have more autonomy to make decisions.

He also mentioned the work carried out by Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech in drawing up the legislation for Standards in Public Life. Dr Muscat said that this law should have been implemented 25 years ago, and said that while criticism has come in from the opposition, the government had to start from scratch in drawing it up.

He also had a dig at opposition leader Simon Busuttil, saying that he talks a lot, but then when it comes to the crunch, takes no action. He referred to a case where the Auditor General found that Opposition MP Chris Said 'interfered' in the distribution of funds for local councils. "The Auditor General did not believe Dr Said, but Dr Busuttil did. This shows that he is part of the elite and part of the establishment," said the Prime Minister. 

PN reacts

In reaction, the PN said that the Dr Muscat's hard headedness was the reason why Malta's standards are currently the lowest they have ever been. The PN said that leaving Minister Konrad Mizzi with the same power he had following the Panama Papers scandal was one of them, as was allowing Mr Mizzi to continue to negotiate deals when he had already cost Malta €14 million when he brokered an oil deal with Azerbaijan. The PN also pointed at the €4.2 million Cafe Premier bailout as well as the fact that the Prime Minister took no action against MP Michael Falzon for his "ferocious" attack on the Auditor General.
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