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30 January 2015

President Erdogan’s ideas about the Presidental System Of New Turkey

erdogantrtPresident Erdoğan, who answered the questions of journalists during a live TV program, made important statements on a variety of subjects including domestic policy, foreign policy, debates on presidential system, the upcoming elections and parallel state structure. Emphasizing that adopting a new Constitution is the most important matter concerning the construction of New Turkey, President Erdoğan said: “We should grasp the awareness of one nation, one flag, one country and one state very well. We cannot allow those, who want to operate on Turkey. 78 million individuals of this country should live together in solidarity as brothers.”

Stating that he has always had a busy schedule filled with domestic and foreign travels and foreign guests visiting Turkey since his inauguration on August 28, 2014, that he has never remained out of the national agenda, which is already not possible due to his status and duties, President Erdoğan said: “Our duty here necessitates that I, the head of the people, use my power as this office and nation deserves.”

President Erdoğan noted that as the President, he has visited 19 countries, held talks with almost 50 Presidents and Prime Ministers during these visits, met with ministers, heads of state and government visiting Turkey and received ambassadors.

MUKHTARS AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE

Expressing that he has met with representatives of domestic NGOs, citizens at events held at the Presidential Palace, that most recently they hosted 406 mukhtars at the Presidential Palace, President Erdoğan said: “We would like to integrate the Presidential Palace with mukhtars. We plan to meet with all our 50 thousand mukhtars here, talk with them, host luncheons for them and farewell them. We began this process.” President Erdoğan stated that being hosted at the Presidential Palace caused a different excitement among the mukhtars and that they will continue this event by hosting 1000-2000 mukhtars at the multi-purpose hall which will be built in the Presidential Complex. Emphasizing that the Interior Ministry will prepare forms to determine the problems of the mukhtars and a unit will be formed to closely follow these problems, President Erdoğan said: “Our Interior Ministry will establish communication between the bottom level and the top. I believe this will be an important area of activity for our Government.”

Voicing that there is a heated debate on the Presidential system, Mr. President was asked “What kind of a Presidential system do you want? Why do you think this is necessary? How should the checks and balances be in this system?”. President Erdoğan reminded that there are a lot of speculations concerning the Presidential system, and that when he brought this issue up during his mayoralty and Premiership, there were also many speculations, and said: “If you try to change many habits, take steps to reform them, of course they will speculate over that.” President Erdoğan reminded that former presidents Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel also brought up the Presidential system and that President Özal described the Presidential system as “one of the most ideal systems of all”.

PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM DEBATE: “IT DOES NOT NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE BICAMERAL, OUR PARLIAMENT WOULD BE ENOUGH”

Pointing out that 10 of the G20 countries are being governed with Presidential system, President Erdoğan said: “We need to see a fact in such a system. How can we quickly rise above the level of contemporary civilizations? We need to think this. Because this multi-headed system is slowing down this process like shackles around our feet. What is parliamentary democracy? It is based on parliament. This parliament based system is not totally disregarded in the Presidential system. There is a parliament there. Some say U.S.-type system here. We can discuss it, that is another issue. In the US, there is a House of Representatives and there is also Senate. This does not have to be the case in Turkey. Turkey can continue with its parliament and deputies. Will it be based on checks and balances? Of course, it will be. There will be parliament. You cannot use an authority, which is not granted by the parliament. Sure, there will be Presidential powers defined by the Constitution. The President will act within the boundaries of his authority and also exercise the powers granted by the Parliament. It will also be the Parliament that will determine the limits of these powers. An administration without checks and balances will cause many problems and we cannot let that happen.”

“WE WOULD HAVE ACHIEVED MORE IF A PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM HAD BEEN ADOPTED”

Emphasizing that you can theorize about things but living it will bring different experiences, President Erdoğan reminded the anecdote of Nasreddin in which he falls off the roof and said: “I fell off the roof. I know what it is like. Everyone in Istanbul knows my practices, performance and success during my term as the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Our performance during this 12 years is also apparent. We would have achieved more if a presidential system had been adopted. We have been obstructed many times and had to struggle to overcome them.” Underscoring that in the present system, they have problems appointing someone with a trilateral executive order but there will be no such problems in the Presidential system, President Erdoğan said: “I choose who I work with. He will come with me and leave with me. That is not possible in the present system. Those, who come with you, do not leave with you. Some people stop this, for instance the judiciary. What about propriety and expediency? Who do the people hold responsible? The politicians not the judges. Members of the judiciary can easily say ‘I can relieve him 11 times and appoint again the 12th time.’ Then, you have a friction with the judiciary. You cannot govern a country, a city like this. These are all cons of the parliamentary system. I believe that all these problems can be solved through Presidential system.”

Stating that the process was different during his Premiership when Mr. Abdullah Gül was the President, and that it will also be different between him and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, President Erdoğan noted that if the opposite of this happens, there will be obstructions.

“MAKING A SWIFT DECISION IS SOMETIMES DIFFICULT IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM”

Answering the question “There is an election ahead of us. There are your relation with the Government. You chaired the Council of Ministers, which is your Constitutional right. However, there are criticism that you are pushing the boundaries of law. You say Turkey needs to make swift decisions. Is this actually the case? Is Turkey advancing by pushing the boundaries of law?”, President Erdoğan said: “This is the case for the current structure. Let me give you a simple example. Mr. Nasuhi Güngör himself… This Government appointed Mr. Güngör as the Deputy Director General of TRT. How many times have you been relieved of duty? Now, how will this system function? You appoint someone you believe in to an institution. Then, someone else makes a complaint and he is relieved of duty. The Government says ‘I believe in this man, I will reappoint him’ and appoints you again. The court relieves you again. You appoint, they relieve again. Well, what about the institution? What happens to it? The hierarchy gets deranged. We must achieve this to get us out of this position where we have to push the boundaries of law. I am talking about the system. For such a development, a change of constitution is a must. 367 votes are needed for a Constitutional amendment. Our Government needs to win 367 seats to take this step or 330 seats to hold a referendum. I am telling my view, my evaluation of the system. I say this because I believe this about the system. Mr. Burhan Kuzu authored a book about that. There are many other books on this matter. I believe that such discussions would be useful for our people to get to know these systems.”

RELATION BETWEEN PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM AND DEMOCRACY: “WE WILL ESTABLISH OUR LEGAL SYSTEM IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR VALUES AS THE US AND FRANCE DID”

Answering the question “You are making a point based on your experience and you are right. However there is a concern about the relation between the Presidential system and law and democracy. When the Presidential system is adopted, how will democracy and law be?”, President Erdoğan said: “The simplest example of this is well-known. When people are asked what the most advanced democracy in the world is, they say the US. That is so clear. This is an actual and living example, not out of some textbook. We should talk about what happened. They established this system based on a legal system, right? We have the same opportunity and means. We have the same capability. One more thing: We should prepare a legal system in accordance with our customs and traditions just as the US did while creating its legal system. I fully believe that our country will rise to much more advanced levels in democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms when we prepare that system. Because, such values developed in the West like this. When you look at France, it established its legal system according to its values. We cannot set our values aside, either. You cannot disregard a country’s traditions and values while establishing its legal system. You have to include those values in the system so that the future will be more peaceful and brighter.”

“THEY DO NOT IMPUTE SULTANATE TO THE PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS IN THE US, BRAZIL, SOUTH KOREA. WHY IS IT A SULTANATE WHEN IT COMES TO TURKEY?”

“Main opposition leader criticized you and claimed that you desire to be a sultan, concerning your presidential system wish. I met with a delegation of a foreign fund last week. They asked why you wanted Presidential system. I repeated the answer you had given during your last travel. I said you wanted to speed up the process and administration. They asked ‘What will he do speeding up the process, what will he do after he is granted the power?” Why do you think there are such questions in people’s minds?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan answered: “You should have asked that person where he was from. Britain. In my opinion, Britain is a semi-presidency. The predominant constituent is the queen. Is there a sultanate in the US? They do not impute Sultanate to the Presidential systems in the US, Brazil, South Korea or Mexico. Why is it a sultanate when it comes to Turkey? You should answer their question with this question. They have other concerns. What does it mean ‘What will he do speeding up the process’? We need to accelerate. We need to quickly catch up. We have performed this duty under very difficult conditions in the last 12 years and we have seen things. We want to get better. We want to improve the standard of living in Turkey. The opposition in Turkey- I mean them all – does not have a goal to develop. They have contradicted everything we said. When we said ‘white’, they said ‘black’. When we said ‘black’, they said ‘white’. We want to provide the best service in education, healthcare, justice, security, transportation, energy, any other area you can think of. We must render the political government powerful to achieve that. Because, the responsibility belongs to the political government. This government is primarily based on the national will. If the national will grants you this power, you must ideally exercise this power. I cannot ideally exercise it now. How will I answer for that before the nation 4 years from now? The people will ask ‘We expected you to do this, why did not you?’. You need to serve properly.”

Stating that Turkey is in a very different position today than it was in 2002, President Erdoğan said: “Turkey is not a country whose agenda is determined externally anymore, we are in a very different situation. I follow the outcomes of public opinion polls, I know the expectations of the people. I know their expectations in education, healthcare, justice, transportation, energy, agriculture, any other area you can think of.” Answering the question “Is there a public support for presidential system?”, President Erdoğan said: “I would like to tell you something interesting; outcomes of the public polls are very different today than ten years ago. A strong view has developed in the supporter base of AK Party during this process. Because, as things happened, as people experience things, support for this system has increased. When you look at the average of Turkey, the balance between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ has a very positive inclination.”

“WE MUST WORK TO ESTABLISH THE MOST IDEAL SYSTEM”

A journalist asked: “What you lean towards is something like the following; There will still be a parliamentary checks and balances, the Constitutional Court will still check the system, The Court of Accounts and other institutions will still perform their functions. Am I right?” President Erdoğan said: “There are such systems but President’s powers have a limit in these systems. For example, the Prime Minister may serve as the First Vice President or the Second Vice President. His counterpart would still be the Prime Minister of other countries. This does not mean the President cannot hold talks with Prime Ministers. There are backbones that carry a system. You rid the system of the unnecessary ones but leave the essential ones alone. We are not rediscovering the world here. I believe that establishing the most ideal system after examining every successful system, will be very appropriate.”

Answering the question: “You are thinking a unicameral model. Then, can we say that you have a clear model in your mind?” President Erdoğan said: “Yes”.

“WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THE SO-CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE SAY SO; WE SAY WE SHOULD LEAVE THIS TO HISTORIANS”

“100th anniversary of 1915 events is ahead of us. What are Turkey’s preparations for that? Because, lobbies of the other side are making moves. You had extended an invitation to Sarkisian concerning the relations with Armenia. Will there be any developments in the bilateral relations?” was another question. President Erdoğan said: “As you know, I issued a condolence message o April, 23 last year concerning this issue. We have not received a positive response to this message from Armenia. However, many leaders all over the world have expressed their gladness because of this message. However, the Armenian diaspora continues to scratch and stir this issue. They try to struggle with Turkey and continue this process in conflict. We cannot accept such a thing. I mean we cannot accept the so-called Armenian genocide because some people tell us to do so. We say ‘If you are sincere, we should leave this to historians, open our archives to them and let them work.’ We opened our archives. We released over 1 million documents on this issue. If Armenia has an archive, it should also open it. But, none of them make such an effort. We have determined our historians. You should determine yours. We should include historians from third countries. They should work together, present their report to us. Then, we, politicians, should meet. If Turkey is actually guilty, committed a crime, if there is a price we have to pay, we will discuss this and take the necessary steps.”

“WE SHOULD ALL RESPECT THE REPORT OF RESEARCHERS WHO WILL BE COMMISSIONED “

Regarding the issue, President Erdoğan said: “You should pay attention to the fact that the Republic of Turkey have opened its archives but they have not. All they do is to say ‘Turkey is guilty’. Saying that does not make Turkey guilty. Inside our archives, there are documents showing that the other side committed massacres also as much as our misdeeds. We should evaluate the issue all together. When Mr. Davutoğlu was the Foreign Minister, he started a process in Switzerland to sincerely discuss this. They ran away from the table. They escaped, we said we would pursue this anyway, they ran away again. What they want to do is that they go to irrelevant countries and try to make them recognize this allegation. Those irrelevant countries, they cannot even show the location of Armenia on a map but they subjugate a few people in those countries and make them issue a decision to this end. Then, they say ‘See, that country is supporting our cause’. This is no longer the case. We are sincere. Here is our proposal: We have opened our archives. You should open yours. We still have some documents we can release. We are also ready to open them. If there is a third country which has related documents, it should also make them public. We should commission historians, archeologists, political scientists etc., they should work together and we should all respect the report of the commissioned researchers.”

“ARMENIAN DIASPORA HAS VARIOUS ALLIANCES; IT IS APPARENT THAT WE ARE NOT EFFECTIVE ENOUGH AGAINST THEIR ACTIVITIES”

Answering the question “Why is not Turkey’s open and people-oriented approach to 1915 events reciprocated?” President Erdoğan said: “It is apparent that we are not effective enough against the activities of their diaspora. They have various alliances. I have to say this. In my message, I prayed for the souls of the Muslim Turks and Armenians who were Ottoman citizens. Because, it was not one-sided. They suffered losses but the Muslims also suffered losses. I mentioned both sides in my message. Wise ones do not deny this. They agree this. However, the biased, unwise people approach the issue very differently. This is partly what underlies the problem. The lobby activities. As you know, there are many international lobbying firms. They spend huge amounts of money on these firms to take these steps. Actually, these are not news. They are making ‘interesting’ movies in Hollywood to increase their influence. Currently, we do not plan to counteract this via same methods. Because, I must say the figures are very high. Concerning their mentality, they have very different ties.”

ISIL’S SIEGE ON KOBANE

When he was reminded that his remarks “They are performing ‘Çiftetelli'”(a kind of Turkish folk dance) after the end of ISIL’s siege on Kobane were criticized, President Erdoğan said: “Çiftetelli bothered them. They were performing ‘halay’ (a folk dance) if not ‘çiftetelli’. The city is wrecked. we are accommodating all residents of Kobane in Turkey. We are paying the price, shouldering the burden. ‘ISIL withdrew from the area’, so what? Is everything resolved now?” A journalist stated that he saw the last situation in Ayn Al Arab and asked ‘who will reconstruct these places?’. President Erdoğan said: “Where are those, who bombarded the city? Will they come and build the city now?”

“THIS ISSUE CANNOT BE RESOLVED WITHOUT A GROUND OPERATION TARGETING BOTH ISIL AND THE REGIME”

Answering the question: “Will this issue fall onto the shoulders of Turkey?”, President Erdoğan said that they cannot accept that. Reminding that he has always expressed ‘only air raids cannot solve this, a ground operation is necessary’, President Erdoğan underlined that he has discussed this issue with President Obama of the US and his Vice President and that he explained the issue to the heads of state and government at the NATO summit. President Erdoğan said: “They have never agreed to no-fly zone and secure zone. They only agreed to ‘train and equip’. We do not have a problem with training and equipping, we can join that but we cannot join the airstrikes. A ground operation is necessary here. Solving this issue is impossible without it. Besides, we do not accept a ground operation targeting only ISIL. The regime must be targeted, too. If we do not target the regime, a ground operation will be useless. When I asked ‘what is the strategic significance of Kobane?’, they could not answer me.”

“WHY DO THOSE, WHO TALK ABOUT KOBANE, IGNORE ALEPPO?”

Stating that during his visit to France, he told President Hollande of France ‘Why are not we talking about Aleppo?’, President Erdoğan said that the French Foreign Minister authored an article about Aleppo a few day later. President Erdoğan said: “The article attracted a lot of attention and they understood the Aleppo issue then. Some people are remaining silent while the regime is bombarding Aleppo. Why? Is it because they are in collaboration with the regime? They are pushing all of the organizations there to the enemy’s side, but the moderate opposition forces are struggling on their own. They are struggling to not lose Aleppo and you are leaving them alone. We have told them that. However, they continued to say ‘we will carry our airstrikes but we will not conduct a ground operation. We will support training and equipping.’ We said ‘We will join the training and equipping but we cannot act together on other matters without a no-fly zone and secure zone.’ Our Armed Forces and Foreign Ministry still continue their talks. I wish there will be a positive outcome. Otherwise, succeeding in this struggle is very difficult with this current understanding. Because, this regime is causing these troubles due to the lack of decisive reaction. It is about to turn into a Israel-Syria, Israel-Lebanon issue. There are many questions here, why? We must openly discuss this. Because, they want to found a structure in the North covering, Afrin, Hasakah and Qamishli.”

“INTO WHOSE HANDS DID THE AMERICAN WEAPONS FALL?”

Answering the question ‘Is this a second Northern Iraq?’, President Erdoğan said: “They are trying to create such a structure.” Noting that he told President Obama ‘PYD is the same with PKK. It is not right to give them weapons’, President Erdoğan said: “There are some heavy weapons among the air-dropped weapons. Now I ask, where are those weapons, who have them and against whom will they be used? Because the condition of this organization is apparent. We have not received any response or explanation so far. We will continue to follow this. Aleppo is of great significance to us. Regarding the situation of the 200 thousand people who fled Kobane and took shelter in Turkey, Kobane needs to be reconstructed. However, some people say ‘The Housing Development Administration (TOKI) should rebuild the city.’ If you care about Kobane so much, go build it yourselves. TOKI serves the poor in my country. We will continue to provide humanitarian aid but we will not reconstruct the city on our own.”

“Some people deduce that you are not happy for the freeing of Kobane.” said a journalist. President Erdoğan said he made no such comment and stated: ” Saving the people of Kobane was more important than saving Kobane for me. I expressed my happiness about that at the beginning. They are probably looking for dancing partners to join ‘halay’. I am sorry, dance with someone else.”

“WE ARE SHELTERING 200 THOUSAND PEOPLE FROM KOBANE IN TURKEY, WE ARE SERVING THEM WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION”

Answering the question “will the ousting of ISIL from Kobane affect the solution process?”, President Erdoğan said: “We can never defend them being forced out of their lands or the occupation of their lands. This invasion by ISIL, all those killings, none of them can be accepted. We are discussing Kobane. Why are not we discussing Mosul or Dohuk. All we talk about is Kobane.” Stating that Turkey has fulfilled its humanitarian and conscientious responsibilities, President Erdoğan said: We are sheltering 200 thousand people from Kobane in Turkey. We are providing them food, water, healthcare. It is us who take care of all their needs, not that party. Their municipalities are not powerful enough for this. The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) is taking care of this. It has mobilized all its capabilities but they are not giving AFAD credit for this. Ungratefulness is a very bad thing. They should thank the Government of the Republic of Turkey. We let so many people in. We are serving them without any discrimination among Arabs, Kurds and Ezidis. However, they are still complaining about Turkey to the world. There are such problems. These problems upset us too. No matter what they say, I thank AFAD, the Turkish Red Crescent, all our aid organizations and all concerned ministries. We have properly performed our duties so our conscience is at ease. We will not be regarded as guilty just because they say so. I do not answer to them whether I am happy for the ousting of ISIL from Kobane or not. I will answer to Allah first and then the people.”

“I DO NOT BELIEVE THOSE, WHO INSTIGATED THE OCTOBER 6-7 AND CİZRE INCIDENTS, ARE SINCERE ABOUT THE SOLUTION PROCESS”

Regarding the solution process, President Erdoğan said: “During this solution process, I have never witnessed sincerity from them. They are not sincere now, either. If they were, the October 6-7 and Cizre incidents would not have happened. If they were, the airport in Yüksekova, which the government is having constructed, would have been completed already. It is still under construction because of threats and arson attacks on the construction equipment and vehicles. The roads are the same. The road blocks. You see the ditches dug in Cizre. Who is being harmed by these actions? Mu Kurdish brothers living there. They are doing all they can to stop the Kurdish people from living in humane conditions while claiming ‘We are the representatives of the Kurds’.

President Erdoğan said that they initiated the solution process because they believe it will serve the peace in Turkey, that they first initiated the process as the Democratic Initiative, National Unity and Brotherhood Project, then continued as the Solution Process and that they will continue the process. President Erdoğan said: “But they are not sincere about this, either. Because, we see their actions and approaches.”

“I BELIEVE THE DOMESTIC SECURITY REFORM PACKAGE WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE THE SOLUTION PROCESS”

“What is the road map for the solution process? There were news that PKK would lay down their weapons. Kandil says one thing, İmralı says another. This is probably the biggest project of Turkey. What should we expect from these 6 months?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan said: “First of all, they do not have a chain of command and a structure that determine who will do what. İmralı gives an instruction, Kandil gives another. Sometimes, these instructions do not match each other. When that happens, they take different steps. Afterwards, they say ‘some groups, that ignore our instructions, carried out that action’. Is it possible to yield a result like this? New organization names, other than already known organizations, keep emerging. Why? To mislead us. The domestic security reform package will be adopted soon. I believe that this domestic security reform package will significantly improve the Solution Process. Laying down arms, ending the molotovs, the masks etc… Because, the people want peace. My Kurdish citizens also want peace but cannot have it because of the threats. I believe that taking these steps without compromising the law will enable my Kurdish citizens, brothers to resist them. All the NGOs and mukhtars, I have spoken with, say the same thing but we must consolidate their ground. They should feel the support of the state.”

“OUR GOAL IS TO MAINTAIN PEACE IN TURKEY”

Answering the question “I see you are a little pessimistic. When we look at the Solution Process through the organization, your concerns are valid but there are political actors inside the organization, such as Hatip Dicle, are making efforts. To what do you attribute this attitude of the organization? Is it the insecurity of the organization or is there another actors in play? Are different actors stepping in to stop the Solution Process?”, President Erdoğan said: “The success of the Solution Process will affect the political competition in Turkey and be against those, who have political plans. That’s why they do not support this. I had never been pessimistic about this issue until I assumed this office. I had acted rather freely. We gathered the Wise People for this. After me, Mr. Prime Minister continued the process for this. For what? We have a goal. Our goal is to maintain peace in Turkey.”

“WE RECORDED THE PARALLEL STATE STRUCTURE AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL”

Expressing that they are trying to advance this process and to be hopeful as a nation, that the Wise People have strenuously struggled for this process and continued their struggle despite some improper and impertinent assaults, President Erdoğan said: “They expressed what they saw, learned and found with a report and a brief presentation. In addition to the political actors trying to stop the Solution Process, there are also nonpolitical actors who want to obstruct this process. The most important one of them is the organization, which I call the parallel state structure. Some people call them “cemaat”(religious community) but this has nothing to do with community. Otherwise, we would be disrespecting the sincere communities. This is an organization now and we recorded the parallel state structure at the National Security Council by describing it as ‘organizations, which conduct illegal activities in domestic and foreign legal disguises’. We notified our advisory decision to the Government. Our government adopted this decision as the Council of Ministers. This means: This organization is written in the National Security Policy Document as PDY or PY (parallel state structure). It is an illegal organization in legal disguises. The state started to struggle against this organization with all its bodies and institutions. We will continue this struggle.”

“A PROSECUTOR CANNOT SAY ‘THE ACTUAL TARGET WAS THE PRIME MINISTER’, HE CANNOT BUILD A CASE ON GUESSES”

Stating that the coup attempt on December 17-25 is an extension of the attempted operation against Hakan Fidan, President Erdoğan said: “When you look at the actors of this, you see the parallel state structure. Recently, a though-provoking statement by a former prosecutor, who had been relieved of duty, was reported in a newspaper. Reading only a part of it would suffice. he says ‘In my opinion, the actual target was the Prime Minister’. You are a member of the judiciary, you cannot say ‘In my opinion’. you cannot build a case on guesses. Interestingly, he says in his statement about my son ‘There is nothing concrete against Bilal Erdoğan.’. Then, he cannot demonstrate anything against me, either. Then he says’ In my opinion, Erdoğan was the target’. If a prosecutor can say something like that, then there is no legal responsibility here. You cannot trust such a court or a member of judiciary. Their removal from post is of great significance. We have come a long way. We have put up a great struggle. Our rightfulness is becoming more and more evident every day.”

“WE CANNOT STAND BY OPPRESSORS, THE STATE AND THE NATION MUST COHERE”

Expressing that as the situation in the police force is revealed, what they had done gets uncovered, President Erdoğan said: “For example, recently a police officer threw a bomb from an armored police vehicle. He was one of the parallel police officers but fortunately another police officer, who was not one of them, intervened and apprehended that officer. If such a breakdown happens within the Police Force, what will happen to us? How will we maintain security? If the same thing happens within the Armed Forces, what will happen to the country? We must seriously discuss this. That’s why our Government’s current struggle is not an ordinary struggle. Our struggle is not an ordinary struggle. I would like to remind this to our wise citizens ‘Please, do not underestimate this issue’. We should use the reason, knowledge, experience ,which Allah blessed us, to restore the rule of law, to restore justice. If we do not, some people will be oppressed and some people will become oppressor. We cannot stand by oppressors. The state and the nation must cohere so that we will get through this process. If we do that, I believe we will yield a much better outcome from the Solution Process.”

“Many people, whom we regard as pro-freedom, and pro-liberal thought, either keep their distance from the agenda concerning the parallel structure or have already evolved into their advocates. Is not there something odd here?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan noted that the origin of this is highly odd, and said: “We should examine this. Some of them had different relations in the past but concerning their relations based on self-interest, now they say ‘I am out of the circle that is close to the Government.’ and assume a negative attitude.”

“WE WILL LAY THE GROUND FOR THE COMMON WISDOM TO MARCH TOWARDS THE NATIONAL WILL”

President Erdoğan emphasized that as the President, it is his primary duty to protect the national interests. Stating that they have to take joint steps in solidarity with the Government to achieve that, President Erdoğan said: “Their purpose is to disrupt this harmony. We cannot allow that. We will exert every effort to preserve this harmony. We will lay the ground for the common wisdom, collective thought and common sense to march towards the national will. I wish the elections on June, 7 will be a beautiful ground for that.”

Stating that the approach of the opposition saddens him, President Erdoğan said: “There cannot be such an approach. They used to curse them, call them ‘trans ocean’, the main opposition. Now they are acting like brothers in solidarity. They can easily work like that.” Expressing that such approaches will not yield any result, President Erdoğan said: “I say justice will prevail. We sincerely continue our way now.”

PROVOCATIONS IN CIZRE

“HDP and BDP, particularly Hatip Dicle explain the incidents in Cizre with the parallel structure, sabotages against the solution process and provocations. You receive a direct flow of intelligence. Do they confirm this?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan said: “Partly. If we generalize this, it would be unfair. You should ask Mr. Hatip Dicle who is the mayor of Cizre and of which party is he a member? The name of the municipality was written on the construction vehicles that dug those ditches, plowed the roads. They are calculating the expenses for those ditches and demanding it not to fix the roads but to obtain money. This is all included in the intelligence. Considering all these facts, it is not understandable to say they did all these. We need to see this. It is not possible Mr. Dicle to hide these. Because, our Interior Ministry clearly detected that the municipalities controlled by that party are involved in these activities and by doing so, they are obstructing the Solution Process.”

“THOSE, WHO DO NOT WANT AN AIRPORT IN CIZRE AND YUKSEKOVA, ARE DISTURBED BY THE SOLUTION PROCESS”

Stating that he inaugurated the Cizre Airport on a Ramadan day, President Erdoğan said: “I wish the airport in Yüksekova was completed and we would inaugurate it with Mr. Prime Minister. Why should my Kurdish brothers have to travel by land?” Expressing that they have built divided highways but they also want people to be able to travel by air, President Erdoğan said: “You should be able to go from Istanbul to Yüksekova in one and half hour. We are trying to modernize the living conditions of our citizens there. They say ‘go on foot’. They are obstructing our efforts. They are not helping the state and the government. Why? To stop the Solution Process.”

“WE HAVE TAKEN MANY STEPS IN FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN 12 YEARS”

Expressing that all these are topics of the Solution Process, President Erdoğan said: “The Government I chaired have taken many steps in fundamental rights and freedoms such as television and radio channels, broadcasts in the region. We enabled them to run political campaigns in their own language. We have rejected the assimilation and denial policies. We lifted the state of emergency in one and half month when Mr. Abdullah Gül was the Prime Minister. I was the Chairman of AK Party then. We kept our promise. Because, during our preparations for the foundation of AK Party, citizens in the Southeast, in Cizre said ‘We want one thing from you, Just lift the state of emergency, that is enough’. It was our first action. We lifted the state of emergency. We have performed many services after that. More will be done. Is it enough? There are a lot more to do. I believe it is not ethically right to carry out campaigns against Turkey and the Government in the international arena despite all our efforts and services.”

“THERE IS A RUTHLESS PROCESS GOING ON IN THE JUDICIARY, ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THE INSTRUCTIONS FROM PENNSYLVANIA”

Reminding the appointments in the Police Force and the judiciary, a journalist asked: “will there be any special legal arrangements to struggle against the parallel structure which has an operational structure?”. President Erdoğan stated that all these point to the Presidential system and said: “You cannot do this in a Presidential system. In a Presidential system, you intervene the moment you realize any such misdeeds and end it there. Because, this is treason. Such a treacherous network cannot do whatever they want. Right now, we can only change their posts. They will continue to betray where they are appointed, right? What needs to happen? They have a strong influence in the Council of the State and administrative courts. They can change the verdicts as they want. We have experienced, witnessed this. We are suffering from this. The citizens should know that there is a ruthless process going on in the judiciary and these things happen because of the instructions from Pennsylvania.”

THE SPECULATION ABOUT “IMPRISONED JOURNALISTS IN TURKEY” BY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS

President Erdoğan said: “The International Court of Justice, Freedom House… I recently received some international journalists. He said ‘There are many imprisoned journalists here in Turkey’. I asked ‘Who are they?’ He said ‘Many’. I asked ‘How many? Give me a number.’ He could not give me a number. I asked ‘Who is your source, where did you get this information?’ He could not say it, either.” Noting that he had invited this delegation, himself, President Erdoğan said: “I delivered a speech in France. During my speech, a reporter stood up and said: ‘We would like to speak with you but they will not give us an appointment.’ I asked ‘Do you want to visit me?’ He said: ‘We would like to visit you as a committee.’ I said ‘I will give the necessary instructions, keep in touch, also visit our Minister of Justice.’ They visited me after that. I said ‘I already had a list prepared. I knew you would ask these questions. There are 7 people in prison now. 2 of them were imprisoned during our term, the rest were imprisoned before us. However, they are all affiliated to the terrorist organization DHKP-C. They are in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm, murdering a police officer, murdering a guard, attempted bank robbery, etc. They are sentenced to 12 years, 7 years and so on. He said: ‘They should be retried.’ I said ‘We cannot interfere with your trial mechanisms so easily. How can you? ‘They should be retried’ They are convicted felons serving their sentences. They are members of a terrorist organization. They are not imprisoned for their ideas or intellectual works. They are in for the crimes they committed.’ They could not resist. Then, they went to visit Mr. Bekir Bozdağ. Mr. Bozdağ told them similar things and even presented them lists. The campaign against us right now is similar to this.”

“ISRAEL KILLED 16 PALESTINIAN JOURNALISTS, NO ONE SAID A WORD”

Expressing that the European organizations are prejudiced against Turkey, President Erdoğan said: “For example; Israel killed 16 Palestinian journalists. Did anyone say a word? No. Why? Because, the perpetrator is Israel. If it was the Palestinians who did that, they would raise hell.” Pointing out that the same thing also has happened in Egypt, President Erdoğan said: “What about the murder of Naji Al-Ali in London? He was martyred in the middle of London. It is all out there. We are living these but no one is saying a word. However, when it comes to Turkey, they think ‘Who is in charge now in Turkey? Erdoğan and Davutoğlu. Let’s press them. Because, we are not on the same wavelength.” They do not care whether there is fair administration in Turkey or not. We clearly state the following about this. What was the freedom of press like in Turkey 15-20 years ago? How many journalists and authors were imprisoned then? When you examine that, the progress is obvious. There were hundreds of journalists in prison. We have presented all kinds of freedom and maintained them. There are only 7 of them in prison now and they have nothing to do with journalism.”

DOUBTS ABOUT THE PARIS ATTACKS

A journalist asked for his comments on the remarks claiming that there may be a conspiracy behind the Paris attacks and the rising Islamophobia and xenophobia. President Erdoğan said that he cannot produce conspiracy theories by following other conspiracy theories. Reminding that the perpetrators of the attacks had already been imprisoned, President Erdoğan said: “What does the intelligence agency in France do? Why did not they follow and surveil these people? The answer of this question is also the answer of your question.” Pointing out President Hollande’s statement on Palestine shortly before the attack, President Erdoğan said: “That was a very positive statement. It is really thought-provoking that such an attack took place after that statement. Either this is because of Hollande’s opponents or there are some different question marks and secrets here.”

“WHAT IS NETANYAHU, WHO IMPLEMENTS STATE TERROR, DOING AT THE MARCH AGAINST TERROR IN PARIS?”

“They chanted ‘I am a Jew, I am a Policeman’. There were pro-Israel slogans at the march. It made me think ‘Can Israel have anything to do with this?’, it may be a bit conspirational but…” said a journalist. President Erdoğan stated: “Israel is known for its such actions. We later found out that Netanyahu had not been invited but gone to Paris anyway. Mr. Abbas was an invited guest there. Mr. Abbas told me that Mr. Hollande had insisted on his participation. If the purpose of that march was to denounce terror, we have to say that terror does not have a religion, nationality or ethnicity. Every terrorist is a murderer, a savage regardless of his religion. Netanyahu will be discomforted again after this program but he implements state terror. It is not even individual, it is state terror. He just made a statement about Lebanon and said ‘I would like to remind you of Gaza’. ‘I killed 2500 people there without sparing any child or woman, I will do that to you, too.’ He is still threatening. He is not seeking peace in the region. He is seeking terror and war. It is how his mind works because there are troubles in their past.”

“I THANK MR. HOLLANDE FOR HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS PALESTINE”

Expressing that a former Israeli Prime Minister told him ‘The most pleasurable moment of my life is the moment I am on a tank in Palestine’, President Erdoğan said: Can you imagine an Israeli Prime Minister telling this to a Muslim Prime Minister? I was shocked. I said ‘What are you saying? I suppose you will not make these remarks at the press conference.’ He did not say anything like that at the press conference. The same mentality applies here. They find peace in shedding blood. We must have a determined, dignified, solid stance against that but I see problems about that in many Muslim countries. I am not talking about the people, I am talking about the administrations. I thank Mr. Hollande for his attitude towards Palestine. That attitude will be remembered with gratitude. His consecutive decisions are very felicitous. Israel is not releasing the taxes of Palestine and Gaza. We need to display a stance against that too. I wish peace will be restored in the region soon. I do not know what the elections in Israel will lead to. We do not have much relations with there anyway. We will conduct our own business. We will struggle to further strengthen Turkey. I we can rid Turkey of terror and maintain peace, we will be much more active in determining the world agenda and yield more positive results.”

ELECTIONS IN GREECE: “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL BRING THE RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND GREECE TO A MORE IDEAL LEVEL”

Regarding the triumph of Syriza in the elections in Greece, President Erdoğan drew attention to the critical economic problems in Greece. Pointing out the hundreds of billions of euros of debt of Greece, President Erdoğan said that already elected governments had lost credit due to this debt and Syriza, as a new alternative, won the support of the people with its messages about these problems. President Erdoğan said: “Alexis must make the best of this opportunity. If he does, I believe the Greek people will grant him new opportunities. However, you need to be more cautious with your messages. Acting with caution and composure will save you from failure in the future. Politics does not go well with sensitivity, and you should balance populism and politics. If you cannot, then you will answer to the people. There are a lot of comments on the relations between Turkey and Greece. I do not accept them. ‘Continuity of states is principal’. We have followed this rule and stayed in contact with every administration. We worked with a social democratic Government in Greece. We worked with a Christian democratic Government. We experienced this with all of them. I have seen them all since Simitis. I worked with Papandreou, Karamanlis. We have always had good bilateral relations. Mr. Davutoğlu had a long meeting with Mr. Tsipras during his visit to Athens. I believe that we will bring the relations between Turkey and Greece to a more ideal level and I wish him success.”

“THERE IS NOT A SHADOW CABINET AT THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACE”

“‘One of the reasons for the deterioration of freedoms in Turkey is the shadow cabinet at the Presidential Palace’ says Freedom House in his report. Is there a shadow cabinet here?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan said: “Freedom House does not have any credit, any prestige in the world. They attribute importance to themselves. They may be one of those externally established organizations. You know there are such organizations in the world. They are established for specific missions. We need to know these facts. I must have 25 department heads in order to establish a shadow cabinet at the Presidency. There is no such thing. Have those, who claim that, ever interviewed me about this? No.”

“THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PRESIDENCY WILL RESOUND NOT ONLY IN TURKEY BUT ALSO IN THE WHOLE WORLD”

Expressing that Presidency’s Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın made a statement about the organizational structure of the Presidency, President Erdoğan said that the preparations at the Presidency aim to “follow the investments of the Government”. Reminding that the legal arrangements are submitted to the Presidency for approval, President Erdoğan said that they cannot assess these arrangements without proper infrastructure. Voicing that as the President, he must be aware of the developments in Turkey, President Erdoğan said: “We need units that follow these developments so that I will be aware of them. Let’s say I visit a province and plan to make a speech. My colleagues, who write my speeches, need information about there. Where will they obtain that information? From the relevant unit. We need them. There were not such units before. We transformed this place into a more active structure by establishing these units. We are strengthening the structure here. We have more work to do. I hope the performance of the Presidency will resound not only in Turkey but also in the whole world. Time will tell. Such groups and organizations do not concern us much.”

“I STAND BY THE OPPRESSED IF THERE IS ANYTHING I CAN DO AS THE PRESIDENT”

“The sufferings caused by the February 28 mentality still continues. Yakup Köse was imprisoned again about 2 months ago. There are many more anonymous victims. Is there a need for a legal arrangement about this? Will you exercise your Presidential pardon power?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan said: “We discuss this issue with the Minister of Justice and Mr. Prime Minister from time to time. Mr. Köse, who is a journalist, has served a long time in prison. Why? Because of his pen. He was slandered. The Ministry of Justice is evaluating the case now. I hope justice will be served. I regard this as an act of oppression. You imprison s teenager at the age of 14 and keep him there for 7 years for unacceptable reasons. I am telling you the information I received from my colleagues. There are other victims of February 28. The individual application to the Constitutional Court was introduced as a result of the referendum in 2010, which is a convenience for them. We may not know all the victims but if we are informed about them, we will do what we can. If there is anything I can do as the President, I am determined to stand by the oppressed. I do not act on people’s say-so. I will exercise my powers for them.”

“DEPORTATION OF FETHULLAH GÜLEN WOULD BE APT, THIS IS OF SIGNIFICANCE TO TURKISH-AMERICAN RELATIONS”

Answering a question about the deportation of Fethullah Gülen, President Erdoğan said: “In my opinion, deportation would be more apt than extradition. The US should deport him and fulfill its duty to its ‘strategic partner’ and ‘model partner’ Turkey. The leader of this organization, which is recorded in the National Security Policy Document as a national security threat, should no longer be kept in the US. This is of significance to the relations between Turkey and the US. We expressed this to their officials. We are following the process. His deportation is of primary importance to us. It is not only him, there are others. There are many people fleeing Turkey now. Their imams were published by a newspaper recently. Some of them already left Turkey. If you are not guilty, why do you flee? They are being caught. There will be more. For example, arrest warrants were issued for the 5 people, who planted bugs in my office. They are also missing, on the run. The situation inside the parallel state structure is catastrophic.”

ALEVI OPENING PROCESS

Answering the question “A new Alevi report is being prepared. NGOs are holding meetings. Will a new Alevi opening process be initiated?”, President Erdoğan said: “Concerning the Alevi opening, we had initiated a process under the leadership of Mr. Faruk Çelik during my Premiership. There are some inconsistencies among them and because of that, you cannot produce any results. Will the Alevi dedes (religious figures) be affiliated with the Presidency of Religious Affairs? Other than that, there are some things they say about the cemevis. Regarding the cemevis, we said one thing; the municipalities already assist the cemevis about land allocation and parcelling. Is this a house of worship or a cultural center? There is also an inconsistency here. Some of the m want cemevi to be recognized as a house of worship while others regard cemevi as a place for their cultural events and meetings. There is no agreement here, which causes a problem. Should it be affiliated with the Presidency of Religious Affairs? That is another debate. I do not know what the Government’s final decision will be but we will discuss this issue with them and eminent scholars. I suppose our Government will work on that. Of course, we would like to share our views with them.”

“WE EXPECT A DECISIVE STEP FROM THE EU CONCERNING OUR MEMBERSHIP”

Concerning the accession process to the EU, President Erdoğan said: “Our view is already known about the EU. You see the situation there. Their insincerity is apparent. They still have not been able to act sincerely. But, we have studied our lesson. We still continue to study. Everything is ready for the 23rd and 24th chapters but unfortunately, Italy could not take a decisive step. There is a new process now with Latvia’s EU Council Presidency. Can these chapters be opened during their term? I do not know. When we talk, they give positive messages but when we say ‘Let’s take a decisive step’, they do not agree to that.” Stating that the Government has already expressed its determination about this, President Erdoğan said: “We have the same position. I wish they will act sincerely. It would only take us 2 months to fulfill the requirements of these chapters in accordance with the acquis when they say ‘we are ready, we are opening this chapter’. Because, we have already established our institutions in accordance with the acquis of the EU. Thus, we do not have a problem here.”

“There is an expectation concerning the sick convicts, will there be any step to meet this expectation?” asked a journalist. President Erdoğan expressed that the most important rule about the sick convicts is the obtaining a report from the Institution of Forensic Medicine and said: “There has been some problematic incidents in the past. Some people falsely obtained a report from the Institution of Forensic Medicine, they were released as a result of a Presidential pardon. A few months later, they were apprehended in a terrorist action. That’s why we have to be cautious here. However, if they have a report from the Institution of Forensic Medicine, we will cautiously perform our humanitarian and conscientious duty. We do not have any problem with that.”

“A NEW CONSTITUTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TOPIC AS THE ELECTIONS ON JUNE 7 GET CLOSER”

Answering the question “Will we be able to draft a new constitution in 2015?”, President Erdoğan said: “In my opinion, if we will establish the new Turkey, a new constitution is the most important topic as the election on June 7 get closer. Winning the 367 seats which are required to adopt a new constitution should be the goal or at least 330 seats to hold a referendum. I believe that a party, which will run its campaign for this goal, for a new Constitution and a new Turkey, will be honored by the nation and after June 7, Turkey will advance towards a very different direction.”

“I LOVE THE CREATED BECAUSE OF THE CREATOR, I AM OBLIGED TO LOVE, I AM A SERVANT OF THAT PATH”

At the end of the program, Mr. President was asked “everyone has some criticism about you being the President. Do you have a message about that?”. President Erdoğan answered: “I do not know what kind of criticism there is but I know this; I am trying to serve as the President of all 78 million. I evaluate the legal arrangements, hold talks with Mr. Prime Minister and Mr. Chief of General Staff and other officials with this sensitivity. We are doing what is necessary to achieve that. We must revive and develop every inch of the 780 thousand km2 all together. For me, there is no difference among Turks, Kurds, Lazs, Circassians, Georgians, Abkhazians, Bosnians, Romanies. I love the created because of the Creator. I am obliged to love, I am a servant of that path. As I always say, we should grasp the awareness of one nation, one flag, one country and one state very well. We cannot allow those, who want to operate on Turkey. 78 million individuals of this country should live together in solidarity as brothers. We should build a brighter Turkey by ridding our country of terror.”

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