Erdoğan: The issue is about Turkey, not me
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 26 that attacks against himself were not actually about him, but instead targeted Turkey, and in nature were similar to previous attempts to invade Anatolia.
“Do not forget, Anatolia is a wall and if this wall collapses, there will no longer be a Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, Balkans or Caucasus,” Erdoğan said in the southeastern province of Muş, warning that such an event would lead to the collapse of surrounding regions.
“If we show even a small sign of weakness, you will see they will come onto us like hooded crows. Some unwary people among us think this is an issue about me. No, their issue is Turkey. The issue is Islam,” he said.
“The issue is not the AKP [Justice and Development Party], it is Turkey; it is Islam, which they have symbolized in the name of our nation. Those who know the West, know being a Turk means being a Muslim. Turkey means all Muslims’ hope. We are the only country and nation who has direct contact with the West but is still able to protect its identity and freedom. This is why oppressed societies care so much about Turkey that they have a place for us in their hearts and prayers,” Erdoğan also said.
Erdoğan made the comments during a ceremony to mark the 947th anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt in Turkish), in which the Seljuk Turks claimed victory over the Byzantine Empire in 1071. The battle on Aug. 26, 1071 saw Seljuk Turks led by Sultan Alparslan defeat a Byzantine army and lead the way for the Turks to dominate Anatolia.
“We have shown the entire world what kind of a nation we are. Young people! Protect this legacy born in the past, moving forward into the future,” he said.
On Aug. 25, Erdoğan had also released a message marking the anniversary of the historic battle. “Defying a host of attacks from inside and out, our people have clung to this soil for almost 1,000 years thanks to the soul of Manzikert.”
Turkey’s biggest safeguard is the “determination of our people to protect their independence, their motherland and their future,” even in the face of economic attacks, Erdoğan had added.
“As you know, above all, we will be ‘one.’ We will be great, alive and brothers. It is all together that we will be Turkey, and do not forget this: One nation, one flag, one homeland and state. They will not be able to divide us, break us up, and if we are ‘one,’ great and alive, with the help of God, we will walk toward [the goals of] 2023, 2053 and 2071 in very different ways,” Erdoğan said on Aug. 26.
The ceremony at the historic battle site in the Manzikert district also saw the participation of Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.