PM Yıldırım delivers conciliatory messages after referendum
DHA photoTurkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım sought on April 18 to deliver conciliatory messages to opposition groups and citizens who voted against the shift to an executive presidential system after a tense referendum process that resulted in a narrow win for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government.
“A new page has been opened in our political history with this referendum. This new page promises a beautiful future for our country. The winner of the polls is Turkey, the Turkish people. There is no loser,” Yıldırım told his Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group.
“Not only those who supported the ‘Yes’ campaign but also those who said ‘No’ won on April 16,” he added.
Turkey voted in favor of a set of constitutional amendments introducing a shift into executive presidential system by only a small margin, amid opposition claims that polls were marred by irregularities.
“We as politicians must be able to say new things. It’s time to update ourselves,” Yıldırım said, calling on the opposition to cease efforts to cast a shadow on the legitimacy of the referendum.
“Everybody, particularly the main opposition party, has to respect the results,” he added.
‘We’ll defend everybody’s rights’
Prime Minister Yıldırım tried to assure all voters that the government will defend the rights of every citizen.
“Our main priority will be the protection of our universal values, of our faith and thoughts. We will not allow any attempt that would break the heart of a single citizen,” he said.
He claimed that the government will “continue to serve to the people in the most transparent way,” not disregarding the fact that “the opposition is an irreplaceable part of our democracy.”
“This is not about ‘you’ and ‘me.’ This is about our country. Let’s not forget that the whole world is watching us,” Yıldırım said.
The prime minister recalled that Turkey had gone through a tense campaign process full of “insults” and “sound and fury.”
“Some of our statements may have exceeded their aims. Those who said ‘yes’ and ‘no’ may have insulted each other. But now it’s time to put all these aside and build a joint future hand in hand,” he said.
Yıldırım also thanked voters in the Kurdish-majority southeast, where the “Yes” side won more votes than many expected, suggesting that this reflected “support for the government’s fight against terrorism.”