Opposition ‘should not be jealous’ of cabinet-presidency harmony, Turkish PM says

Opposition ‘should not be jealous’ of cabinet-presidency harmony, Turkish PM says

Opposition ‘should not be jealous’ of cabinet-presidency harmony, Turkish PM says

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during the ruling Justice and Development Party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, Jan. 27. AFP PHOTO

Opposition parties should not be jealous about the close relationship between the government and the presidency, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, vowing that he will "never permit" those who try to spark disagreement between him and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

“They should not be jealous. They should not expect there to be a disagreement between the president and the cabinet so that they can fill the vacuum through the political crisis,” Davutoğlu said in an address to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group.

Davutoğlu responded to criticism from opposition parties over Erdoğan’s initiative to hold the cabinet meeting at the presidency, stressing that the eight-and-half-hour long meeting was "full of thought and consultation.”

“We are not statesmen of the kind that they know. We maintain the ethics of our cause and the state tradition with the same commitment. But, in the sense of examination and responsibility, the main interlocutor is the cabinet,” he said, adding that criticisms can never be attributed to the president. 

Davutoğlu’s statement came on the same day as Erdoğan suggested that the government should highlight the need to adopt a presidential system in its election campaign. Although Davutoğlu emphasized that there was no disagreement between him and the president, he did not comment on own views on the presidential system.

Turkey to be pioneer of Europe’s future, Davutoğlu vows

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu vowed Turkey will one day, one way or another, join the EU and pioneer the future of the European continent, echoing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Turkey will not beg for full membership to the Union.

“The EU is a strategic target for us. God willing, one day, one way or another, it [Turkey] will be a member of the EU. Until that time, I want all European leaders to know that Turkey is a part of European history. Turkey will not only be a part of Europe’s future but will be its pioneer. Furthermore, the future of European history cannot be written without Turkey,” Davutoğlu said in an address to his parliamentary group Jan. 27. 

Recalling that the EU had hesitated to open the way to membership for Turkey in the early 2000s because of its poor economy, but now its objection is because of Turkey’s strong economy, Davutoğlu said Turkey will continue to remain a strong country regardless of whether or not the EU decides to embrace it. 

“We are not going to beg in front of their door or seek any privileged treatment. But, they should know that if the EU will be a global power with its demography, economy and cultural pluralism, it will pass through Turkey,” he said.

The EU will lose nothing if Turkey becomes a full member, Davutoğlu said, but the country will continue its path with determination if it’s rejected by Brussels. “But, one day, the EU members will come and will invite [Turkey to the union]. We believe in it,” he said.

Davutoğlu argued there is an active smear campaign against the government to cast a shadow on their successes, especially after the massive Gezi protests in 2013, and instructed all ministries and other institutions to launch a counterattack against this dark propaganda.

“We are declaring mobilization throughout the world. We will exert the utmost efforts to explain Turkey’s success story by globetrotting against these treacherous gangs that have been defaming our country,” he said. These smear campaigns are aiming to depict the Islamic world as either in line with authoritarian regimes or terrorists, the prime minister stressed, adding that Turkey will lead a fresh campaign to reverse this perception.

“Prominent figures of the Islamic world and scientists have met with our head of the Religious Affairs Directorate. We are launching a counter-campaign. We will continue to struggle in every field to convey the Islamic world’s message of peace to the world against sectarian discrimination in the name of fraternity in the Islamic world,” he said.