Turkish PM ‘refuses to wear bulletproof vest’ on domestic visits

Turkish PM ‘refuses to wear bulletproof vest’ on domestic visits

Turkish PM ‘refuses to wear bulletproof vest’ on domestic visits

DHA photo

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said he does not wear a bulletproof vest during trips around Turkey, stressing that he visited the southeastern province of Diyarbakır last week without a security vest just one day after seven police officers were killed and dozens were wounded in a bomb attack blamed on militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We are fighting terrorism while being surrounded by a ring of fire,” Davutoğlu said on April 4, delivering a speech at the police academy in Ankara.

He also recalled his August 2015 visit to the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Ceylanpınar district, during which he visited a police station shortly after two of the station’s police officers were found shot dead at their shared home, with the PKK claiming responsibility.

“When we went back then, they asked on the streets: ‘I wonder if the prime minister or his spouse is wearing a steel vest?’ In Diyarbakır people asked the same. But if the prime minister wears a steel vest, and the people can feel that vest when we embrace each other, how can the people of Diyarbakır feel themselves confident?” Davutoğlu said, speaking at a ceremony on the occasion of the 171st anniversary of the foundation of the national police forces.

“Rest assured, the prime minister’s life is no more precious than the life of our police officer, our soldier, our gendarmerie officer, or any of our citizens,” he said.

“I refused to wear a steel vest so the people of Diyarbakır would feel my heart when I embraced them,” Davutoğlu added.
The prime minister said he ordered that no such measures would be taken on any of his travels inside the country.

While in the restive southeastern city of Diyarbakır on April 1, Davutoğlu declared that he was “not scared” and vowed to take “no steps back” in the fight against terror.

“They thought we would be scared. But we are not scared, we will not waver and we will go on right to the end,” Davutoğlu said, addressing people in Diyarbakır. “Perhaps they thought ‘Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will not come to Diyarbakır out of fear of these attacks’. But dear people of Diyarbakır, are you scared?” he said.

The visit was already planned before the deadly PKK attack on the police on March 31.