ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
PM Erdoğan signals his intent to remain the country’s leader until 2023, openly hinting at plans to jump to a revamped presidency at his party’s congress
PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he will be ‘at the service of our nation by any means’ when he leaves the AKP chairmanship. DAILY NEWS photos, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Having been elected as the chairman of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the last time until 2015, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
signaled that he will not leave the political arena, tacitly giving a hint that he will indeed run for presidency in the upcoming 2014 elections.
“This is not a farewell. This is a rest, a break. This is a rest between the notes of the endless song. This is not a recess, this is a promise to keep and vow that we gave before. Even our recess is for our nation. We will be at the service of our nation by any means during our recess. We will do our best in every duty that our nation assigns to us with the conscience of our clause,” Erdoğan said yesterday in his address at his party’s congress in Ankara, alluding that he aims to remain in power until 2023.
“We have a bright future. Our country has the potential to be one of the greatest powers of its region and the world. We will continue to advance toward our 2023 targets and build Turkey’s future hand in hand with our nation,” Erdoğan said. However, he failed to reveal what the concrete actions toward his vision would be.
The fourth ordinary congress of the ruling AKP convened yesterday in Ankara
Arena Sports Hall, with the theme of “Great nation, great power, vision for 2023,” in reference to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.
Political objectives of the AKP were disclosed during the congress with a booklet that circulated in the congress hall titled “2023 political vision of the AK Party.”
The AKP proposes a major overhaul in Turkey’s political system, suggesting that Turkey should implement either presidential, a semi-presidential or a president tied to a political party system.
“A change in Turkey’s political system has become a must after the amendment regarding the president’s popular election was approved in the referendum [in 2007]. The political system that will shape Turkey’s future should urgently be debated. Turkey should implement either a presidential, semi-presidential or party-member-presidential system,” the booklet said.
Erdoğan, who was welcomed with applause and excited cheers of thousands of AKP supporters, delivered an emotional two-and-half-hour long speech.
In his speech, Erdoğan emphasized that the AKP has not and will not interfere with people’s lifestyle, stressing that they would protect everyone’s rights even if they got the support of the majority.
“Everybody’s lifestyle is under our assurance. We would protect the rights of the one percent even if we got the support of the 99 percent, let alone the 50 percent. We are against the domination of the majority over the minority. At the same time we are against the domination of the minority over the majority,” Erdoğan said.
Addressing his party’s youths, Erdoğan pointed to the year 2071 as a significant target because it is the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Manzikert. The Battle of Manzikert was fought between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Turks and seen as the battle that “opened the gates of Anatolia to the Turks.”
“Your goal is 2071 my young fellows. If Allah permits we will build 2023 and you will build 2071,” Erdoğan said.
Commenting on the new constitution making process during his congress speech, Erdoğan said the process will not stop even if one of the political parties leaves the Parliament’s Constitution Conciliation Commission.
“What would happen in case of a blockade and delay [of the commission]? We would complete this process together with the parties whom we agree upon with the maximum common points. We will not be the one who leaves the table,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also ruled out any possible rift within his party, urging his fellows to be aware of “dark circles,” which he accused of attempting to infiltrate the AKP.
“There will not be a discord in our clause, my fellows. Sedition and mischief cannot infect in our clause. Headlines, dark plots or conspiracies cannot lead to disunion among us. We have to watch out very carefully for the dark circles who would attempt to infiltrate us and set us at odds,” Erdoğan said.