May 19 2019

Ruling AKP aware of slowdown caused by years of crisis management, says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday said Turkey continued to fight against ongoing wave of attacks on its economy and security, at a ceremony marking the centenary of Turkey's Independence Day in the country’s northern province of Samsun, independent news site T24 reported.

"The obstacles we have overcome in the past six years have caused us to redirect our resources to crisis management, and we are aware of the slowdown this has caused," Erdoğan said during a commemoration ceremony which brought the leaders of Turkey’s political parties together.

The Turkish president’s statements arrive following the AKP’s greatest defeat in its 17 years in power in the March 31 local elections, which saw the Islamist party lose five of Turkey’s most populous provinces. The AKP successfully appealed its loss in economic hub Istanbul with the country's election council and the city of 16 million is preparing for a fresh mayoral vote in June. 

Turkey’s strongman said Ankara was well aware of those seeking to harm the country with foreign currency, interest rates, inflation and sanctions, and was prepared to "spoil their plans."

The Turkish lira has slumped by almost 15 percent against the dollar this year after last year’s losses of 28 percent. A rerun of March 31 mayoral elections for Istanbul, set to take place on June 23, and ongoing political tensions with Washington, including a U.S. threat of sanctions over plans to purchase Russian S-400 missiles are weighing on investor sentiment. 

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, AKP-ally far-right Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli, opposition Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu, opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Önder Aksakal were among the party leaders present for the ceremony on Sunday, providing a rare photo opportunity with the country’s party leaders.

"These kinds of anniversaries are means for nations to review their future goals," Erdoğan said.

Absent from the event was opposition centre-right nationalist Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener.

CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu criticized the male-dominant political scene in Turkey on Twitter by posting a photograph of the event.  

“This country will get out of difficulties when half of this photo is comprised of women,” Tanrıkulu said.