Turkish PM Erdoğan slams media, investors, opposition
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) group meeting in Ankara, Jan 28. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed what he called “the losers’ lobby” – local and international media, business groups, investors, opposition parties and the Fethullah Gülen movement – accusing them of targeting the Turkish economy and people in a bid to overthrow the government.
“Smear campaigns against Turkey have mostly been carried out by some circles inside Turkey. Certain media groups, some businessmen and business organizations, some civil society organizations and even the main opposition party and other political parties have unfortunately taken the task of smearing their own country and economy,” Erdoğan told lawmakers from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) at a parliamentary group meeting on Jan. 28.
The group is not just targeting the government and its policies but the entire Turkish economy, Erdoğan said, calling the move a “treasonous plan” aiming at tarnishing the credibility of the government.
He repeated his earlier accusations of treachery against the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), saying conducting such a smear campaign against one’s own country would be regarded as an act of betrayal in every part of the world.
With the fight between Erdoğan and Gülen becoming bitterer, the statements coming from each side are also increasing in venom. Gülen recently gave two comprehensive interviews to leading international media, the BBC and the Wall Street Journal, amid the ongoing corruption and graft operation engulfing some of Erdoğan’s ministers and his close circles, including his own son.
The BBC and the Wall Street Journal have also borne the brunt of Erdoğan’s criticisms, with the Turkish leader turning the clock back to the 1930s to hint that they were part of Jewish capital.
“Who are the bosses of these newspapers? They recently did the same thing in England and [British Prime Minister David] Cameron immediately shut down newspapers. Then they have started to hit from America. The same mentality. We should know this mentality. With whom are they moving? Who are their partners?” asked Erdoğan.
Arguing that the country’s top business leaders had never been audited in the past and that they started to voice their unease when such auditing processes began, Erdoğan signaled that big holdings would be subjected to financial inspection.
Dismissing arguments that the government was threatening big capital through audits, Erdoğan said:
“We have no any plans to intimidate big capital. What we tell big capital is to be sincere and work properly. Informing against your own country… Forget about it. Do your work properly. We’ll give assessments on you as long as you do your work properly. If not, we have things to do.”
Those who are trying to portray the AKP as corrupt are holding secret talks to replace the government with another one that would not disturb them, Erdoğan said.
“The upcoming elections are local elections. You won’t get the results you are expecting. The AK Parti will win elections to enlighten the country. We will all stand firm. We will have more solidarity. The March 30 elections will mark a turning point for Turkey, for democracy and the national will,” he said.
It’s not important which candidate wins the elections but which party will win, Erdoğan said.
“[This is] because each municipality the AKP wins will have a meaning, because the losers’ lobby will get another blow from the people. Then there will be no obstacle before Turkey and its democracy and the resolution [of the Kurdish question]. We will take more democratization steps and make more reforms,” he said.
‘Islam is no one’s exclusive possession’
Erdoğan also criticized the Gülen movement without directly mentioning it by name, accusing the movement of “being hostile to its own country” and attempting “to steal the national will.”
“Islam is no one’s exclusive possession. Concepts such as serving and raising students are humanitarian concepts,” Erdoğan said. “Despite many of our sincere brothers, who have started with the love of service, the organization has preferred to become a tool for Turkey’s enemies.”
The prime minister said lies targeting him and his party were being distributed around Anatolia. “The biggest theft is the theft of the national will,” he said. “Those who attacked the national will on Dec. 17  with their fanatics within the judiciary cannot track corruption. They cannot fling the dirt of corruption at us. The losers of the ‘old Turkey’ are singing the tune of corruption as a choir. If you want to see corruption, go look in the mirror.”