Erdoğan slams CHP mayors for ‘unauthorized’ aid campaign
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 1 slammed the Republican People’s Party (CHP) municipalities for carrying out their own fundraising campaigns to help citizens during the coronavirus outbreak, accusing them of attempting to be “a state within the state.”
“There is no need to be a state within the state. In this sense, all these campaigns are being carried out by the [institutions] our state’s Presidency has announced,” Erdoğan said.
He further elaborated that the fundraising works are being carried out by the Interior Ministry, the Family, Labour and Social Services Ministry and the provinces’ governor’s offices.
The president’s remarks came during a speech at a meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial heads.
“If our municipalities launch campaigns without the governor’s offices’ permission, this is called being a state within the state,” he said.
“[Then] we would have distributed the power. No one has the right to do so,” he added.
Erdoğan also said that municipalities’ donation campaigns, launched without obtaining permission, is forbidden by law.
The Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities, run by the CHP, recently launched their own donation campaigns to provide help to citizens in need during the coronavirus crisis.
The Interior Ministry issued a circular on March 31 stipulating that municipalities need to get permission from the corresponding governor’s offices for the launched donation campaigns.
After the ministry’s circular, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said in a Twitter post that municipalities and mayors have the authority to accept and collect donations.
“If we are not going to coalesce and be in solidarity today, if we are approaching this with a political manner, when will we have solidarity,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan on March 30 launched a “National Solidarity Campaign” to aid the fight against the impacts of COVID-19. He donated seven months of his salary as a way to kick-start the fundraiser and added that several ministers have already joined as well.
During his speech, Erdoğan also referred to the opposition’s criticism on the government’s donation campaign, dubbing these as “speculations.”
“There are a lot of speculations. Improper things like ‘The state started to beg,’ are being said,” he said.
“The investments we do with our Interior Ministry is inexpressible. The opposition needs to hear what they are saying,” he added.
Turkey may curb intracity traffic
As for the precautions the government is taking against the novel coronavirus, Erdoğan said that additional measures to curb intracity travel can be taken.
“We have partially restricted intercity traffic. We can place similar [measures] for intracity [traffic] as well,” he said.
“The more we decrease social mobility, the more we slow down the disease’s spread,” he said.
Erdoğan also urged citizens to stay at their homes “as much as possible” and to abide by the rules set out by the Science Board.
“If every single one of our citizens put themselves into a voluntary quarantine, we will not need further precautions,” he said.
“We are determined to protect every individual of this country with the motto ‘Our hope is greater than our pain’,” added.