Turkish PM labels himself ‘marathon man’ in rally, opposition speaks out on graft claims
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the self-proclaimed 'Marathon Man,' greets his supporters in Elazığ. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred to himself as the “marathon man” in a rally on March 6, responding to opposition vows that his ambition to become president would be in vain.
Speaking during a rally in the Eastern Anatolian province of Elazığ, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader said the presidential race was not currently his main agenda, but added that he would consider it after the March 30 local elections.
“They say, ‘He will not be able to become the President.’ Forget about it! Let’s pass March 30 and we’ll start talking about that too. We’ll see whose feet will be tripped,” Erdoğan said.
His remarks were a response to opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s recent claim that the prime minister would “run out of breath” in his bid to “climb to Çankaya [where the presidential mansion is located in Ankara].”
“Tayyip Erdoğan has been running in politics for 40 years. Tayyip Erdoğan is a marathon man,” Erdoğan said.
For his part, during a rally in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, Bahçeli declared that the prime minister’s political life was “over.”
“Dec. 17 [the day the Turkish graft probe became public] was a dark day for Turkish politics. And it is a disgrace for the AKP. Such a party cannot have a future. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political life is over. It is impossible for him to be the president. Either he will be cleared [of charges] or he will be [tried] at the Supreme Court,” he said.
Meanwhile, speaking at the Black Sea province of Giresun, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also hit out at Erdoğan over the corruption allegations.
“Watch out for your pockets, unjust hands may reach those pockets. For the first time in history, we have seen how a government has robbed the state,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.