'I do not believe in foreign conspiracy,' Turkish President Gül says
Enis BERBEROĞLU COPENHAGEN / Hürriyet
Turkish President Abdullah Gül attends a dinner held in his honor in Copenhagen during a three-day official visit to Denmark. AA photoTurkish President Abdullah Gül criticized those who blamed “foreign powers” for the latest developments in Turkey, adding that he is “disturbed and sad” about the country's recent situation.
Speaking to journalists in Copenhagen during a three-day official visit to Denmark, Gül said Turkey was "not shining as bright" as it had in the last decade, while calling for a new "reform process" after the March 30 local elections, regardless of the outcome.
The president also abstained from using the term “parallel state.”
There is a climate of conflicts as the local polls approach. It seems like there is conflict between the institutions. What do you think about the situation?
The political atmosphere we are in does not make any of us happy. I am both sad and disturbed about what we are going through. Scenes of the old Turkey are surfacing; funerals are held with hundreds of thousands on the streets. It looks like one from one side, one from the other. But thankfully, their parents did not allow [provocations].
We have unfortunately failed to change Turkey’s political tradition. I have issued various warnings on remarks. I have repeatedly said political expressions should be done differently; how the power of words can be hurtful. I don’t want to say it anymore. Such things don’t befit Turkey. My message to everybody, regardless of the outcome of the elections, is this: We should go back to the reform agenda quickly; right after the elections, and we should continue the reforms from where we left off. I had said ‘we can make these reforms for ourselves, if not for the European Union.’ If we do, the judiciary will be more accountable. [These] happen due to the inadequacy of the rules.”
Do the institutions need damage control?
There is no problem between the constitutional institutions. There are different opinions in the institutions and in the society, and this is a separate issue. The problems stem from the inadequacy of the rules.
What should be done if the conflicts continue until presidential elections [in July]?
Such things should not be associated with the elections. The elections will not end the problems, we cannot wait for them, tomorrow is the presidential election, then the general elections will come, then another one. We say ‘follow the rules,’ but the rules are not clear. If you have strict rules, from the Court of Accounts to development plans … If unauthorized wiretapping is a crime with a clear punishment, people will be more cautious.
Isn’t there a need for more of a restoration process than reforms? Turkey looks like to have stepped back from the EU criteria.
We should move forward. Everybody sees that we do not shine like we did 10 years ago. We should overcome this process with as little damage as possible.
Half of the population calls the prime minister a thief, while the other half believes there is a conspiracy. Is there a parallel state in Turkey? Does the judiciary follow the corruption allegations?
It is a fact that there are different solidarities within the state institutions. Everybody has different beliefs and ideologies can have positions in the state. But if one works for the state, his references should be the Constitution, the laws and his superiors, and he should act accordingly. Whatever is necessary should be done about the corruption. Investigations are carried out openly and transparently; the judicial processes continue.
The prime minister often highlights the parallel state. How serious is the danger?
We should handle this within the law. Judicial processes will be applied to those who commit crimes, who act within the state with different references. Besides that, everybody is entitled to different opinions, of course.
What is the situation of the peace bid?
Turkey should get out of these issues which I think are cyclical, Turkey’s main issue is to complete the peace process. No development that will put Turkey’s unity at risk should occur. The amendments last week included important articles regarding the peace process, but they went unnoticed. Nobody spoke for or against them. We should act carefully, calmly to find a way for everybody to live in peace, based on the foundations of equal citizenship.
Foreign powers are being blamed for the recent developments? Who are they?
I don’t accept the allegations of foreign powers. Those who have praised us for 10 years are now criticizing, why is it an issue now? Such remarks befit third-world countries; Turkey is bigger than that. If you keep a wound open, the flies will surely pile on. The important thing is to keep the wound closed. Why shouldn’t the media and states that supported us yesterday support us today? We also criticize ourselves, we are aware things are not going well. I do not believe in the conspiracy theories that some are trying to demolish Turkey. Foreigners can make remarks about Turkey, but we do not have to reply to them all. I believe that things will be better after the elections.