Turkish President Erdoğan bestows tradesmen with policing mission
The artisan spirit was on display during the 4th Council of Tradesmen and Artisans in Ankara, Nov. 26President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has bestowed a “volunteer mission” on tradesmen throughout Turkey to act as law enforcement officers and judges if necessary, portraying such a duty as a “civilizational tradition” rooted in history.
“In our civilization, in our national and civilizational spirit, tradesmen and artisans are soldiers when needed. They are ‘alperenler’ [the historical name given to Turkish-Muslim knights]; they are martyrs, veterans and heroes defending their homeland when needed. They are the policemen who build order when needed; they are the judge and the referees who deliver justice when needed,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 26, in a speech delivered to the 4th Council of Tradesmen and Artisans in Ankara.
The speech was delivered on the same day that a new hearing into the murder of Ali İsmail Korkmaz was being held in Kayseri. Korkmaz, 19, was beaten to death with sticks in the Central Anatolian city of Eskişehir by plainclothes police officers with the involvement of local shopkeepers and tradesmen, during last year’s Gezi protests. He was beaten on June 2, 2013, but died on July 10 after spending 38 days in a coma.
Given the timing of his speech, Erdogan’s remarks sparked a wave of reaction on social media.
“When needed, he is a compassionate big brother and young brother. You cannot sell a taxi driver short; he is the governor of the district, he is the big brother and warden of the district. You cannot sell a shopkeeper, butcher, grocer and tailor short; he is the spirit of the district; the conscience of the street and district,” the president also added.