Apr 19 2019

Erdoğan calls for a Turkey alliance putting aside differences

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Twitter on Friday that the country should leave election debates behind and instead focus on economic and security problems.

Turkey’s strongman said the country now had more than four years without elections ahead of it. 

“This is a period for shaking hands, embracing one another and strengthening our unity and solidarity,” Erdoğan said in another tweet. 

The Turkish president vowed to implement structural reforms while continuing what he called the country’s struggle against terrorism. 

Erdoğan said his government would strive to come together with everyone on the political spectrum on common ground, without any discrimination.

Ekrem İmamoğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was officially declared the mayor of Istanbul on Wednesday after 17 days of recounting of votes and subsequent AKP appeals. Turkey’s ruling party has also applied to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to annul the Istanbul vote 

"We 82 million (Turks) have to unite and act jointly as a TURKEY ALLIANCE on the issues concerning the future of our country, putting aside all our political differences," Erdoğan said on Friday.

Erdoğan’s comments followed an election campaign leading up to the March 31 local elections during which he called the opposition coalition a "contempt alliance", and accused opposition leaders of supporting terrorism.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) faced defeats in Turkey’s most populous provinces, including Istanbul and Ankara, in the elections.

The president’s remarks on Friday made a change from the previous day, when he said the AKP would keep up its challenge to the Istanbul election results, but Turkey needed to end debate on the issue and focus on issues like the economy.

“We will continue with this struggle of ours until the end. When the YSK says the final word, the matter will be closed for us,” Erdoğan said on Thursday during a speech at a union confederation event.

On the same day that Erdoğan called for unity on Twitter, he also participated in a funeral in Istanbul. A video from the funeral that showed Erdoğan ignoring Imamoglu and refusing to shake the new mayor's hand went viral on social media, where users remarked on the contrast between his statements and actions.