FULL TEXT: Turkish PM Erdoğan's post-election 'balcony speech'
Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara, on March 30. AFP PhotoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech in Ankara, starting late March 30 and ending early March 31, on the results of the local elections:
I wholeheartedly greet our 81 provinces as well as sister and friendly capitals and cities of the world from Ankara, from the AK Party headquarters. I’ve just addressed via teleconference thousands of people who gathered in Skopje Square. They were sharing the joy you have here in freezing weather. I first want to express my absolute gratitude to my God for such a victory and a meaningful result.
I thank my friends and brothers all over the world who prayed for our victory. I thank my brothers in Palestine who saw our victory as their victory. I thank my brothers in Egypt who are struggling for democracy and who understand our struggle very well. I thank my brothers in the Balkans, in Bosnia, in Macedonia, in Kosovo and in all cities in Europe who celebrate our victory with the same joy we have here. I thank my suffering brothers in Syria who pray for our victory although in a great pain, facing starvation and under bombs and bullets. I express the gratitude of my people to all our brothers and friends who gave a support to Turkey’s independence struggle just like before the Independence War of Turkey. Of course, this precious people deserve the greatest appreciation.
My brothers; I thank you very much because you have protected the new Turkey’s struggle for independence. I thank each of you because you have protected the ideal of a great Turkey and the targets of a great Turkey. You have supported your prime minister, your party, the politics, your own future with your own will.
Well, today is March 30. What did they say? They said “Chaos after March 25.” Correct. We saw the chaos. What was this chaos? This country found the opportunity to see the traitors who eavesdropped on the Foreign Ministry and committed treachery by interfering in the national security of this state and people. That was their chaos plan. I’ve been saying for months that “We’ll walk into their dens.”
Now, from time to time, journalists ask me whether I will make a balcony speech this year. Ok, first, what are you expecting out of a balcony speech? Second, why don’t you ask the same to the leaders of the opposition parties? But they [opposition leaders] have no such target. They will keep silent but will claim their win. Regardless of whether he receives 26, 27 or 28 percent, the general directorate [CHP leader] will say he won the elections. The other [MHP] will claim his win although he gets 13, 14 or 15 percent. Why? Because they have spent their lives this way. But what did your brother say? “I’ll quit party leadership if we cannot be the first party.” Politics requires honor. Politics requires nobility. If you cannot enrich your positions, quit. This general directorate [CHP leader] once said he would quit politics if he remains below 40 percent. He got 26, did he go? No. He won’t go this time either. The other oen has occupied this seat for the last 16 or 17 years. Will he go? No.
The message our precious people gave is very clear. The people gave a clear message to Turkey and to the world: What did they say? They said “We are here.” They said, “The Turkish people are impassable.” “We are the owners of this country. the people will not bow and Turkey is invincible.”
Those who managed could flee. More can flee tomorrow. I have filed criminal complaints about some of them; I said they can also flee. As I have said, from now on, we’ll walk into their dens. They will pay for this. How can you threaten our national security? Syria is in a state of war with us. They are harassing our planes. They have martyred our 74 brothers and the Süleyman Şah Tomb is our lands. An attack against there is an attack against 780,000 square kilometers. Can we remain silent about such a thing? But these traitors wiretapped this meeting and leaked it to the world.
They are worse than Assassins [of the Middle Ages]. They are beyond them. My brothers; there is a very important message conveyed by our people through the polls. Our people have made their objection and their stance against attempts to change the direction of Turkey through non-political ways.
Election results show who lost, more than they show who won. Please listen to these words carefully: Today, unethical politics has lost. Tape politics, montage politics, slander and denigration politics has lost. Politics without building something, politics without plans and projects, without goals, has lost. O, General Manager [referring to the main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu], o, so-called party chair! What would you speak of during your election campaign if you didn’t have those tapes? We spoke of plans, projects. They spoke of lies, dissimulation, slander, sedition and intrigue. The status quo has taken a huge blow today. Dirty relations and unnamed alliances have lost today. Every kind of tutelage and to all kinds of tutelage-dictating centers has been hit with a full Ottoman slap by the nation. Arrogance has lost today. Pride has lost today. The arrogance that looks down on its nation, belittling it and making light of its choices has lost in the ballot box one again.
You know those people who used that blood-dripping, anger-inducing, hate-mongering headlines… Today, they have lost heavily again. O, Pennsylvania [referring to U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen], o, the media who support them from here, o, the capital that supported them… Weren’t you positioned against democracy? Democracy has won at the ballot box today. The will has won at the ballot box. What happened to the messages that you gave with an expectation of a coup in Turkey in 2014 in the 21st century? Look at this, the nation is here. The people are here. Those who’d love to plot a route for Turkey through extra-political interventions have lost today at the ballot box. Where are you now?
The politics of lies, slander, blackmail and montage has been destroyed today. The solution method of all problems in Turkey is politics and democracy unquestionably. Whatever problem one has, politics should be used for the solution. Whatever problem one has, it should be solved at the ballot box.
As the AK Party, we will analyze the election results, as we have done in all other elections. [Analyzing the reasons] why we got 46-47-48 [percent of votes all over Turkey] and we could not increase this [rate] to 55 or 60 [percent]. We will sit and discuss this now. And after discussing these and coming up with results we will continue on our path after working on our flaws. But is the opposition occupied with such an issue? No. They have always caught unprepared in the elections. We will wholeheartedly evaluate the feelings of people who have voted for us and my citizens who have not voted for us. The opposition should read the message people have given in the ballot in the correct way. The opposition should do healthy self-criticism.
Do you know what made me hurt? I put aside what has been done against me after what has been done at the Foreign Ministry. Have you heard of any statement from this opposition?
Did you hear them saying “This is treason, this is espionage, we are taking sides with the government against this.” Can those who take sides with Pennsylvania say these? This was what they said whey said there will be chaos after [March] 25. They said the economy would collapse; did it? We will get stronger in the economy, in politics and in democracy.
Come on, let’s turn over a new page. O, the opposition, o, the people who have given their hearts to the opposition. Turkey’s interests must be over everything else. We said we are ready to lose if Turkey would win. The mentality that the AK Party should lose regardless of what consequences it will have for Turkey must be a thing of the past. The principles, values must be the fundamentals of the politics. Let’s raise Turkey together. Those who are used by Turkey’s enemies as pawns were disappointed today. These pawns once again saw how glorious, how noble, how heroic these people are.
We have come [to power] to serve the people, not to be a master over them. We are only the porters of a big stone on the path. We were not here yesterday, but this path will continue. As long as the world stands, God willing, our flag will continue to wave in the highest bastions forever. For this, what have we said? We have said one nation with Turks, Kurds, Laz, Caucasians, Abkhazians, Bosniaks and Roma people. I do not love a Turk for being a Turk, a Kurd for being a Kurd, or a Laz for being a Laz. I love them because Allah who has created me has created the 77 million people. We do not discriminate. One group is making political Kurdishness, one group is making political Turkishness. The CHP says ‘I am a party of the coasts.’ One nation, one country, one flag, one state.
They have entered our institutions over in 35-40 years. They infiltrated wherever. We became the victim of our good intentions. Now it is time to comb them out, within the law. Why? Because from now on, neither the nation nor we will show tolerance to such networks. Look, thank God, we have been granted the proud and honor of being at the forefront of this path. Maybe tomorrow we will not be in these posts. We have tried to glorify whatever task my God has given us. After now, as long as this body has this life, God willing, we will try to loyally adopt whatever tasks are bestowed onto us. If God pleases, we will put in an effort to laud our flag and our land as the servants of this country and nation until our last breath. We are highly relieved. We feel the pride of carrying the great Turkish flag, which we took over from our predecessors, to high bastions.
We are at joy to have strengthened politics. We have no doubt that the great AK Party family will behave with this consciousness. Today, nobody should be sad or sorry. The 77 million people should know that Turkey won today. Every single individual in the 77 million people should know that the new Turkey won today. This is the wedding day of the new Turkey.
Today, the targets of 2023 won, the resolution process won, the process of national unity and fraternity won. Not even one person among the 77 million lost, because a cadre that is ready to serve them without any discrimination is in office. They may think differently; they may have voted for different political parties; they may have cursed us. They may have insulted us. We have stomached most of them; we have taken many of them to court. The worthless opposition, the status quo, coup attempts and tutelage have lost. Immoral and indecent politics have lost. I am thanking once more my nation. I am thanking those grandmothers who have prayed non-stop for months, even children. I am thanking young people, my sisters and the gentlemen.
I am thanking my brothers who have trusted us and who have believed in us. I am thanking those who have prayed for Turkey, for Turkey’s stability everywhere in the world. I am thanking my organization, from my headquarters to provincial organizations, district organizations, small town organizations and polling-station observers. I am thanking one by one our women’s branches, our youth branches, all of them one by one. I wish all the success to the elected mayors, city council members, metropolitan council members, village and neighborhood heads. I wish from God that these elections bring goodness to Turkey. May God protect my country, my nation.
The nation is invincible. I say happy victory; let our victory be blessed. I salute all of you from my heart and I am asking, “Are we ready?”
We walked together on these roads. We got wet together under the pouring rain. In all the songs I am listening to now, everything reminds me of you. Everything reminds me of Turkey.