Turkish president tells mayors to leave politics aside
Mayors in all provinces of Turkey should leave their political views aside and serve all equally in office, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stressing the “picture of unity” at a time when it is “needed most” was remarkable.
“I am pleased to be with mayors who keep a distance from terrorism, terror groups, and lawlessness,” Erdoğan added on Sept. 11 at a meeting with 29 municipal mayors.
“Of course, we may have different political views and positions, but I believe that we can demonstrate the virtue of acting in solidarity when it comes to the national interests of our country and our nation,” said Erdoğan.
“I hope that our meeting will be the first step towards democratic reconciliation. The duty of the mayors is not to pursue the convictions, but to work to bring the most beautiful, lasting and efficient services to their cities,” he stated.
The mayors of the eastern provinces of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, all from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were dismissed last month, being replaced by state-appointed trustees. The HDP is a party accused by the government of having links to the PKK, which Turkey, the US and the EU list as a terror group.
Recalling the March 31 local elections, Erdoğan said, “It is undoubtedly a victory of our democracy that we have successfully concluded such a big election in which 73,562 people were elected in total. Our answer to the criticisms to Turkey is this wide picture of democracy and freedom in which almost every citizen in our country is somehow involved.”
The understanding which leaves the competition in the election process and surrendered to the will of the nation is the biggest guarantee of Turkey’s future, he noted.
“I believe that you will serve as mayor of everyone in your city whether or not they voted for you,” he said.
“Politically, of course, we can have different views and positions. But I believe that we can demonstrate the virtue of acting together when it comes to the interests of our country and nation.”
“You, as mayors who have taken over the management of our metropolitan cities, have really come under a huge responsibility. Anyone with a conscience will agree that we have not looked at any mayor’s party when it comes to service during our 11-year prime ministry and over five years of presidency. We have worked with all mayors who maintain the courtesy and those that do not engage in public animosity against us,” Erdoğan stated.
“We have never forgotten the fact that political conflicts are temporary and the services provided to our country and cities are permanent. No one doubts that we will act with the same understanding from now on,” he said.
Erdoğan stressed that he knows “the situation of all of our municipalities without party separation.”