Turkish PM says he doesn’t want to see ‘yes men’ around
‘A scholar is the person who doesn’t make concessions on his honesty of opinion, no matter what the cost is,’ says PM. AA photoIn a veiled response to criticism against his style of governance, dubbed “one-man rule” by some, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan encouraged intellectuals to warn politicians, including himself, if they took steps “contradicting science.”
What has been experienced in Egypt in the last few weeks is a subject not only for politics, but also for sociology, international relations and, particularly, for history and the struggle for democratization, Erdoğan said on Aug. 25. He was delivering a speech in his hometown, the Black Sea province of Rize.
“I want to remind [you] of something that is also experienced here in our country. A scholar is the person who doesn’t make concessions on his honesty of opinion, no matter what the cost is,” he said.
The remarks came as the prime minister said important historical thresholds were being passed and important situations were being witnessed.
Politicians might contradict science: PM
“I’m saying it very clearly. I’m a politician, but even if it is us who come out and ask for something that contradicts with science, then it is the most important duty for the scholar to say: ‘It is not like this, but it is like that.’ He should not have to wait and say ‘You have declared your writ, Sir,’” Erdoğan said. “At the moment, we are living this in the world, it has also been lived in our country. This should be overcome.”
A considerable number of analysts have recently suggested that the prime minister is being misled by his advisors, which is leading to undemocratic attitudes and policies.
Erdoğan was delivering a speech at an assembly meeting of the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Development Foundation. Previously Rize University, the university was renamed after the prime minister in April 2012.
The government has come under fire both inside and outside the country during and after the Gezi Park unrest, which was sparked in late May due to plans to replace the park next to Istanbul’s Taksim Square with a mall.
According to figures from the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB), five people, including a police officer, were killed and more than 8,000 people were injured during Gezi protests and subsequent clashes.
In apparent reference to the Gezi incidents, Erdoğan said freedom was about more than just doing what one wanted to do.
“Freedom is not about disrupting public order, but respecting public order. However, when you step into another person’s freedom zone, then this brings disruption of public order, this also brings violence and tumult,” he said.