Erdoğan slams opposition, Gülen movement
ANTAKYA - ANKARAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again slammed the political opposition, as well as the Gülen movement, during two election rallies on March 22.
In his first rally of the day, Erdoğan spoke in the southern province of Hatay, which borders Syria. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, were included in the "extraordinary security measures" taken in Hatay, and hovered in the skies above throughout Erdoğan's speech, daily Hürriyet reported.
The prime minister criticized his ally-turned-nemesis Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülen movement, responding to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar's alleged recent accusation that "the tall man [Erdoğan] betrayed [the country]."
"If you're honest and sincere, why did you flee the country in 1999 for Pennsylvania when you were innocent? There is a water leakage," Erdoğan said, using a Turkish idiom to suggest that Gülen was not innocent.
Erdoğan claimed "the parallel structure" within the state also wiretapped President Abdullah Gül, but was not releasing the tapes yet.
"They're busy [fighting] the prime minister. Why should they also be busy with the president now? But they wiretapped him, too. When it is time, they will release those tapes. These people are assassins, montage-makers, a gang, an organization that amounts to a terrorist group," he said.
He also lashed out at the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Reminding of the twin car bombings last year in the town of Reyhanlı in Hatay, which left 53 people dead and hundreds injured, Erdoğan blamed the CHP and the Syrian regime.
"We asked the CHP to keep its distance from the al-Assad regime. We documented that those involved in the Reyhanlı attack were the guides who accompanied some CHP deputies during their meeting with [Syrian leader Bashar] al-Assad," he claimed.
After Hatay, the prime minister spoke at another election rally in Ankara, stepping up his fiery rhetoric against the opposition one week before the March 30 local elections.
"During the one party era of the CHP, we were under heavy oppression. O CHP! Mustafa Kemal [Atatürk] had established the party, but look what they did to it after he died. He [Atatürk's successor İsmet İnönü] removed the Gazi's [Atatürk's] photo from money notes to print his own photo as soon as he was dead," Erdoğan said.
After asserting that the Gülen movement had now allied with CHP, Erdoğan turned his wrath on the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). "When you look at the MHP, you see them working as if they are the lawyers of the CHP," he said.