Erdoğan criticizes CHP over retired admirals’ declaration

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 7 criticized the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) over its “alleged links” to a recent declaration made by a group of retired admirals.

“Let me say this very clearly: The CHP itself is at the center of this [statement by] retired admirals,” Erdoğan said, while addressing his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) lawmakers during a parliamentary group meeting.

Erdoğan accused the CHP of “trying to sow chaos by breaking the hope of our nation, especially our youth.”

“We see this malignant mentality, which sees its power in calamity for the country and nation, as being as dangerous as terrorists and coup plotters,” he said. “The nation will never allow you to defend coup enthusiasts so vigorously, neither will we.”

He also slammed the CHP for trying to “justify” the declaration that “smells of coup d’état” and objected to the main opposition’s argument that the government aims to divert the attention from the economy.

“These admirals receive the instructions from their commander in chief, [CHP leader Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu,” Erdoğan stated noting that they see this mentality as dangerous as “terrorists and coup plotters.”

“They justify both terrorists and putschists, and break the hope of our nation, especially our youth, through the economy, and try to direct our country to a climate of chaos instead of trust and stability,” he stated.

The CHP leader defined the government’s reaction against the open letter of retired admirals, which supported the Montreux Convention, as a “fake agenda” aiming to divert people’s attention.

“It is the putschist himself who underestimates the threats of a group of retired soldiers to the national will and the elected administration of the country over issues that have no basis, at a time when Turkey has not even recovered the wounds of the painful July 15 [2016 coup attempt],” he said.

Ankara prosecutors launched an investigation on April 4 after the declaration warning against calling into question the 1936 Montreux Convention. Ten people from among the signatories of the letter were detained.

Turkey will soon hold a tender for Kanal Istanbul and lay the groundwork for it in the summer, Erdoğan also said.

“We will construct Kanal Istanbul whether you want or not,” he stated.

Turkey has approved development plans for a huge canal on the westernmost part of Istanbul, Environment Minister Murat Kurum said on March 27. The canal will connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south and is estimated to cost 75 billion Turkish Liras ($9.2 billion).

Erdoğan also said Turkey is determined to develop relations with countries around the globe on the basis of rights and justice.

“Especially in places we have close relations with, such as the European Union, the United States of America, Russia, Iran, Central Asian countries, and the Arab world, we are determined to develop our relations with everyone on the basis of rights and justice,” he stated.

“We are actively working to find a permanent solution in every crisis region from Syria to Libya, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Aegean, from Cyprus to [Nagorno] Karabakh,” he said.

Turkey continues to “make every effort for our neighbor Syria to attain a climate of peace, trust, and stability based on territorial integrity and national unity,” the president emphasized.

Hurriyet Daily News

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