A decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to remove the Republic of China (ROC) flag from a thank-you tweet to countries that offered support in the wake of Friday’s massive earthquake was due to pressure from China, which was regrettable, top officials said yesterday.
While Erdogan did not name the countries and organizations that reached out to Turkey after the magnitude 7 quake on Saturday, he posted pictures of their flags, but the tweet was later taken down and replaced with a new one that did not include the ROC flag.
Turkey maintains diplomatic ties with China.
Photo: Screen grab from Twitter
“According to information obtained by our representative office in Turkey, it was due to China’s meddling and pressure,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told reporters in front of the Legislative Yuan in Taipei attending a legislative hearing.
He said Taiwan, as a nation that upholds human rights, would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to other countries that need help, such as the Philippines and Vietnam after recent devastating typhoons.
“We condemn China’s regrettable intervention and repression on a matter of humanitarian assistance that has no political implications,” Wu said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the issue showed that the Chinese government was “narrow-minded,” as it was normal for a country to express appreciation to others that offer support in times of crisis.
“What China did was try to restrict Taiwan’s international space,” Su said on the sidelines of a ceremony to commend government agencies providing open data.
In the face of such repression, Taiwanese should realize that Taiwan can only hold its place in the international community by standing on its own feet, he said.
The overall death toll from Friday’s quake reached 87 yesterday, after search-and-rescue teams found more bodies amid toppled buildings in Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city.
Close to 1,000 people were injured, mostly in Turkey, by the quake, which was centered in the Aegean Sea northeast of the Greek island of Samos.
The tremors were felt across western Turkey, as well as in the Greek capital, Athens. Hundreds of aftershocks have followed.
In other developments, the Ministry of National Defense said that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft yesterday entered Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone on eight separate occasions, the 32nd day such incursions have occurred since the middle of September.
The Chinese aircraft involved were one Y-8 marine patrol plane, one Y-8 tactical reconnaissance aircraft, two Su-30 jets, two J-16 fighters and two J-10 jets, the defense ministry said.
The air force scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets before the Chinese planes left the air defense identification zone, it said.
It was the ninth consecutive day of incursions and the 32nd day on which such incursions have taken place since Sept. 16, a day before the defense ministry began regularly publishing details of Chinese military movements on its Web site.
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