Ruling AKP launches election campaigh with rallies
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accompanied by party executives, will attend both rallies, where he will be addressing his party’s supporters on what he described as “legal rally grounds.” Hürriyet photoThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to have two mass rallies in Ankara and Istanbul over the weekend in a move mostly interpreted as a response to the ongoing Gezi protests.
The rallies, scheduled June 15 for Ankara’s Sincan and June 16 for Istanbul’s Kazlıçeşme, have been announced on billboards in both cities with the tagline “To disrupt the great game, to write history.” The rallies have also been dubbed by AKP members as “rallies of respect for the national will.”
The decision was made last week on June 8 after a meeting of the party’s Central Decision and Executive Council (MKYK) at the height of the Gezi protests, when thousands were filling the squares and streets in the Taksim area, as well as in cities nationwide.
'No aim of polarization'
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accompanied by party executives, will attend both rallies, where he will be addressing his party’s supporters on what he described as “legal rally grounds.” Erdoğan has been addressing crowds frequently at airport rallies and openings since his return from a long series of visits in North Africa.
The rallies were frowned upon by many as a further attempt by the AKP to show off support despite the ongoing protests, some accusing the prime minister of deepening the polarization of the country by calling people to ranks.
Erdoğan however dismissed such claims. “These rallies do not aim to put one crowd against the other. If that was our aim, we would have had them [at Gezi Park], which is something we can certainly do. We hold them where the law allows us to. These rallies aim make the voice of the silent masses heard both in Turkey and in the world.”
Erdoğan said the rallies would offer “a true picture of Turkey” to the Turkish public, as well as to global actors. The rallies also aim to act as rehearsal grounds for the upcoming elections of 2014, according to reports.
The rallies collide with the planned university examinations set to take place on the same weekend that will be defining the fates of nearly 2 million students nationwide. The time of the rallies was pushed back to 5:00 p.m. to facilitate the process for the students.