Erdoğan asks ministers to prepare 6-month road map for 2019 elections
ANKARAPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has asked ministers to outline a six-month road map to be better prepared for the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections, in a bid to address problems concerning the economy and democracy.
“I asked our ministers to fulfill them by the end of the year. I told them to prepare and then present their six-month road map. We will conduct the preparations of 2019 through this six-month road map,” Erdoğan said at a Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchange Offices of Turkey (TOBB) meeting on May 24.
Stressing mostly on the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 2023 vision, Erdoğan told businessmen to act in line with the government’s development plans and to prepare their own short-term road maps as well.
“2023 will be a turning point. The 100th year will be a turning point where the ‘leap forward’ will be proved. We have to make our preparations with determination,” he said, referring to the centenary of the Turkish Republic.
On May 21, in a long address at the AKP’s extraordinary convention where he was elected as the chairman of the AKP, Erdoğan said the six-month program will be based on two aspects, namely the economy and democracy.
“We will avoid falling on both the middle income trap and the middle democracy trap,” he had said.
‘We will overthrow bureaucratic oligarchy’
Erdoğan urged chamber representatives not to hesitate when expressing difficulties they face concerning bureaucratic processes.
“If something is stuck somewhere, you will put pressure on our ministers at the same time so that we will eliminate the bureaucratic problems. Because there are things that the ministers, the prime minister or the president might not know, and when that happens and if you continue communicating with determination with us, we can overthrow this oligarchical structure in a serious manner,” Erdoğan said.
“Today there is a different Turkey. Now, let’s get together to build the Turkey of 2023 and 2035, in order to give a lesson to those who have regarded us as the sick man,” he added.
‘We should produce our own car’
Speaking mainly to businessmen, Erdoğan repeated his wish to launch an initiative to produce cars made fully from national resources, calling TOBB President Rifat Hisarcıklığolu to lead the task under the roof of his chamber.
Following Erdoğan’s call, Hisarcıklıoğlu took the stage to respond to Erdoğan. “If you have asked for that, Turkish business circles can achieve it very easily. We are ready for that as long as you are behind us,” Hisarcıklıoğlu said.
“We will do whatever our part is,” Erdoğan replied.
Cizre, Yüksekova to be provincial centers
Responding to a banner that said: “We want Cizre to be a province,” opened by some businessmen at the meeting, Erdoğan said they would ensure the AKP would enforce its year-old plan to move the provincial centers of the southeastern provinces of Hakkari and Şırnak to their respective districts of Yüksekova and Cizre.
“We have already said Cizre will be a province. Şırnak will be transferred to Çizre while Hakkari will be transferred to Yüksekova. Because urban development is my job, I have municipality experience. I know well which city will make a good province,” Erdoğan said.
The plan was first announced by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in January 2016 amid security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), stating that the main purpose was “to normalize the flow of life, revive economic life and provide security in every neighborhood.”
“We may make some administrative moves such as converting Cizre and Yüksekova into provincial centers because their settings are very convenient for this. While Şırnak is located in a very narrow space, Cizre has a very wide space. Likewise, Hakkari’s expansion is difficult while Yüksekova is expanding. However, since it has not been transformed into a provincial structure, the infrastructure for security or services in line with that expansion is not possible,” Davutoğlu had said.
“If you have not started development plans from urbanization, then you cannot achieve the end result. That’s why do not worry, it is very soon,” Erdoğan said.
The plan had received criticisms and was not implemented before the April 16 referendum.
Hakkari borders Iran and Iraq, while Şırnak is located on Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria.
Erdoğan slams opposition over the accusations on FETÖ links
Erdoğan has slammed the opposition for accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of not revealing the political leg of the July 15 coup attempt, saying that “they have to prove the accusations.”
“Those who argued that there we are not cleaning the political stage have to reveal [their accusation] in a concrete manner,” Erdoğan said answering questions from a reporter ahead of his trip to Brussels on May 24.
“There is a principle in law; the accuser is responsible for proving his accusations. If you know who it is, reveal it,” he said.
His comments came after the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) called on the Turkish government to reveal the political wing of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), while criticizing the release of “influential persons,” referring to Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş’s son-in-law Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı, who was previously detained.
“Look at this, there are no politicians accused of being FETÖ members,” MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said on May 23 at a meeting with party members in parliament. “There is no need to confuse people and protect influential persons in the fight against FETÖ,” he said.
Erdoğan slammed the opposition for directing criticisms at the ruling party, saying Kavurmacı was not related to the AKP and had not been acquitted.
“This matter is about the judiciary. Now the judiciary has decided to release him on probation. He is not acquitted,” he said.
“To make the ruling party responsible for it even if he did not have any place in the party is [wrong]. They should first mind their own party and clean up their own party,” he added.
Kavurmacı was arrested as part of an operation against the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), which was affiliated with FETÖ, before being released by the Istanbul Fifth Criminal Court of Peace on the grounds that prison conditions were having a negative effect on his health. Kavurmacı was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005.