'Should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it?' asks Turkish PM

'Should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it?' asks Turkish PM

Should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it asks Turkish PM

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks during a fast-breaking dinner organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again slammed the military takeover in Egypt, saying that the argument that Germany’s totalitarian dictator Adolf Hitler came to power thanks to elections is “ill-willed,” while confirming that he rejected a meeting request from Egypt’s newly appointed Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei. 

“The ballot box exists to prevent the minority imposing on the majority. They say that Hitler came out of the ballot box. So what, should we remove the ballot box because Hitler can come out of it?” Erdoğan asked supporters during a fast-breaking dinner organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara July 17.

“Questioning the ballot box by saying that Hitler can be elected is nothing more than ill-will against democracy,” Erdoğan said, adding that the government defended Egypt’s toppled President Mohamed Morsi because he was elected and not for any other reason.

He added that he rejected ElBaradei's request on a meeting over the phone, telling him in a letter that he would not hold talks with officials who did not come to power by elections. "You had 1.5 percent of the votes in the elections, Morsi had 52 percent," he said.

Adolf Hitler had 37 percent of the votes in a runoff election in 1932, which subsequently led to his appointment as Chancellor in 1933.

‘I am the perfect Alevi’

Erdoğan also warned over plots that aimed to create unrest in Turkey, particularly emphasizing that there were attempts “to deepen” the problems between Alevis and Sunnis. “What does being Alevi or Sunni mean? If being Alevi means loving the caliph Ali, I am a perfect Alevi. I am trying to live the way he did,” he said, referring to the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad from whom the term “Alevi” is derived. 

Implicitly referring to the nationwide Gezi Park protests that spread across the country after being sparked at the end of May, Erdoğan repeated that there was a “plot” was being laid against the government.

“This plot that happened while we were witnessing the most successful month of May of our history and obtaining gratifying results in democratization, the economy, and foreign policy is not a coincidence,” Erdoğan said, repeating his criticism of social media.

“They may attack us with their social media and other forces that back them, but we will resist against all these attacks,” he said.

‘They should cross the Bosphorus in sandals’

Erdoğan also defended the projects undertaken in Istanbul, particularly slamming the criticism against the construction of a third bridge over the Bosphorus on the grounds that it would destroy huge forestry areas around the metropolis. He said that there had been people against the first bridge when it was built in the 1970s, but now even those who were against are using it. 

“So don’t use them, cross [the Bosphorus] with sandals. But they will say no, and then they would benefit from them. May nobody play with Turkey’s future with different sort of plots,” he said, while he also defended his so-called “crazy project” of constructing a canal on Istanbul’s European shores that would connect the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea.

“If you are environmentalists and you have dignity: We are making Canal Istanbul to save our Bosphorus Straight from an environmental massacre. Don’t forget that tankers burned in the Bosphorus. That’s why we are building it,” he said.

Constitution criticism

Erdoğan also touched on the Constitution-making process, criticizing the opposition for rejecting or only accepting with conditions his proposition to accelerate the process by submitting to the Parliament for approval the 48 articles upon which all four parties have reached a consensus. He especially targeted the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) which retracted its initial support for his proposition.

“Despite having 326 deputies, we have accepted to be represented with three deputies in the [Constitution Conciliation] Commission while you are also represented with three deputies although you only have 51 MPs. Shame on you,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan had also proposed that the commission extend its work during the summer to finish a draft by the new Parliamentary year. But the opposition criticized him for pushing for a transition to a presidential system and for not being willing to lower the 10 percent threshold in parliamentary elections.