Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks at the Parliament in Ankara, Dec. 10. Erdoğan made a staunch defense of the government’s economic and political balance sheet at the beginning of 10 days of debate on the 2014 Central Governance Budget Law in Parliament’s General Assembly. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
slammed “attempts against the national will and peace” on Dec. 10 while making a staunch defense of the government’s economic and political balance sheet at the beginning of 10 days of debate on the 2014 Central Governance Budget Law in Parliament’s General Assembly.
“I’m saying it clearly: The provocations that some are aiming to stage are attempts against the national will, peace and the electoral process. These provocations will fail if the Parliament and the people are one. I also invite our citizens in the east and the southeast to be vigilant against those provocations,” Erdoğan said, implicitly referring to demonstrations in the southeastern province of Hakkari, where two protesters were reportedly shot dead by police on Dec. 6.
“Nobody has the right to threaten the atmosphere of a spring in Turkey. Those who will be silent against this will be unable to render an account in front of the people,” Erdoğan said as concerns regarding the Kurdish peace process were increased following the incident in Hakkari.
“As long as even one drop of blood is not spilled, mothers don’t shed tears and Turkey wins, [the government] will be content at losing [elections],” he said, warning of the appearance of terrorism ahead of the 2014 presidential and the 2015 general elections.
Erdoğan’s speech was repeatedly cut short by opposition deputies during a very tense session, a few hours after main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
voiced strong criticism at the Court of Accounts’ failure to send audit reports of state institutions’ expenditures to Parliament.
The prime minister also denounced some media and financial groups, as well as mass protests, such as the countrywide Gezi demonstrations.
“In Turkey, it is not terrorism, violent demonstrations, the media, gangs or groups of capital, but the people who determine the [country’s] direction,” Erdoğan said.
He also claimed that the country had made a big leap under the 11-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) with respect to “the old Turkey.”
“Some were children 11 years before; perhaps they can’t judge where Turkey has come in 11 years. But we also see that some who are older than a certain age have forgotten how the old Turkey was. Admittedly, we are not at an ideal point, but it is incomparable with yesterday. Those who criticize us freely here today, only a few years ago would have been unable to say even a word to certain circles,” Erdoğan said.
He also defended the government’s foreign policy, one of the main areas of opposition criticism in recent years.
“In our era, the foreign policy was not dictated by [feelings such as] hate or taking offense, but strategic intelligence,” Erdoğan said.
The 2014 budget debate started with a heated row as the CHP
accused the government of covering up its corruption by preventing the Court of Accounts from auditing its spending.
The accusations were initially brushed aside by Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who said Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims that audit reports were not sent to Parliament were wrong.
Tension had also run high a day after the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) used the phrase “Turkish Kurdistan” to refer to the Kurdish-populated regions in eastern and southeastern Anatolia. Other parties subsequently decided to omit the word from official documents.
The discussions on the budget are expected to last 10 days.