Erdoğan slams opposition, media for failing to stand tall in face of terror
AA photoTurkey’s opposition parties and media have both been subjected to slings and arrows thrown by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who suggested the stance they have displayed in the face of rising violence in the country served to favor terrorism.
“While our nation is standing tall and our security forces have been conducting their struggle with sacrifices, each word and each manner aimed at demoralizing and confusing minds and depressing souls would solely serve terror’s goal,” Erdoğan said on Sept. 8, after dozens of Turkey’s security personnel were killed in two separate attacks carried out by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants over the last three days.
“Of course, criticizing and inspecting the state and the government and the flawed and mistaken works is a right for everybody. However, don’t the opposition, the media and the intellectuals, who haven’t fulfilled their responsibilities to their country and their nation, need to be inspected in the same way?” Erdoğan asked, in a speech delivered at a meeting with a delegation from the Higher Education Board (YÖK) accompanied by rectors.
“We did not and will not abandon the nation’s future to three or five terrorists,” he said, pledging that “with God’s permission, Turkey, which has overcome plenty of crises, will get over the plague of terror.”
According to the president, anyone who fails to condemn attacks carried out by “the separatist terrorist organization and other terrorist organizations without ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ has a problem in his bonds with this country.”
He called on political rivals to brush aside “competition,” underlining the need for unity.
At least 14 police officers were killed earlier on Sept. 8 after a police bus was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) laid on a road by PKK militants in the eastern Anatolian province of Iğdır. That attack came two days after 16 soldiers were killed in a twin roadside bomb attack in Dağlıca in the southeastern Anatolian province of Hakkari, according to the Turkish army, the deadliest strike in the current phase of the conflict.
In response, the Turkish air force pounded PKK targets in northern Iraq and special ground forces crossed the border in a rare land incursion.
Holding the PKK responsible for “blocking the path to a settlement,” Erdoğan said, “After this moment, the only solution that can be given consent by the state and people is for the terrorist organization to end its acts and lay down arms.”
Erdoğan said he recently recalled in an interview his argument that a single-party government with 400 deputies would be able to draft a new constitution and thus rebuild Turkey.
“Those who say they are ‘the flagship’ in the press start saying ‘Would Dağlıca not have taken place if you had won 400 deputies?’” he added, apparently referring to daily Hürriyet, which has been considered the flagship of the Doğan Media Group.
“Could such misleading exist? What kind of media are you?” Erdoğan asked. “What kind of dignity in media is this?”
The president, meanwhile, said snap elections scheduled for Nov. 1 would provide a solution to the problems.
“The place for settling accounts in democracies is the ballot box, elections,” he said. “I believe on Nov. 1 our people will demand some are brought to account for what has happened.”