President Erdoğan lends support to interior minister
President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has voiced his ultimate support to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who has come under fire by a mafia leader in a series of videos, stressing that the real target is Turkey’s success in fighting terrorism and bringing down criminal networks.
“As in the fight against terrorist organizations, we have been and will be standing with our interior minister in the fight against criminal networks. It’s sufficient to identify the profiles and tools used in this plot to see that the real target is the construction of a big and strong Turkey,” Erdoğan told his parliamentary group in a weekly address on May 26.
Soylu has become the target of a fugitive mafia leader, Sedat Peker, who is now in the United Arab Emirates and is making accusations against the minister via his YouTube videos. Soylu denies any illegal affairs.
Erdoğan broke his silence over the developments of the last weeks and voiced support to Soylu in front of his AKP lawmakers in parliament.
Recalling that Peker also targetted former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım through his son, Erdoğan said that was “another evidence” that the target is Turkey and the government.
“We are following the members of the criminal organizations wherever they run. We will follow them up until they will be handed to justice,” Erdoğan said, also informing that public prosecutors in Istanbul and Ankara have already taken action over the claims and slanders by Peker.
“All the lies and slanders will be divulged. Nobody should doubt that Turkey is a state of rule of law.”
“We have been and will be at the service of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Süleyman Soylu said on Twitter after the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting.
Crime networks brought down
One of the areas where the AKP governments serving the past 19 years was most successful is security, particularly in the recent years, Erdoğan stressed. “For 19 years Turkey brought down criminal gangs one by one by taking all the means at our disposal. Turkey is no longer a country where so-called gang leaders can show off. We have made Turkey a country where no method other than law is valid.”
In the last three-and-a-half years, Turkey arrested nearly 750,000 suspects of drug-related crimes in thousands of operation and 85,000 of them remanded, he said, adding that Turkey is one of the countries in the world where the heaviest penalties are imposed for drug crimes.
Turkey has also gained significant achievements in the fight against the PKK and FETÖ terror organizations and the former has lost its capacity to pose a threat against Turkey, Erdoğan stressed. “Our success in eliminating terror organizations is causing some discomfort. That is the reason why we are targeted.”
He vowed that Turkey will break the ongoing “insidious plot,” saying, “No scenario can prevent our country from achieving its goals.”
Elections will be held as scheduled in 2023
In reaction to increased calls by the opposition parties for snap elections, Erdoğan said the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held as scheduled, in June 2023. He recalled that the government has repeatedly declared that the elections will take place in 2023 as scheduled. “Don’t try in vain! Elections are in 2023,” he said.
Erdoğan expressed his satisfaction about the compromise the ruling and opposition parties have reached in the election of seven members of the Judges and Prosecutors Council (HSK). “This agreement in parliament is very promising for the works on the new constitution. I believe the politics will produce a new constitution that will seal our democratic gains with the people’s will to political history,” he stated.