“If America is guilty, close İncirlik” – opposition party leader

Turkish nationalist opposition party leader Meral Akşener has questioned the seriousness of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s foreign policy positions in an interview with secularist newspaper Sözcü, telling him that if the United States was really undermining Turkey as he says, Turkey should respond by closing the İncirlik airbase, used by U.S. warplanes.

“I look at the speeches he has made; Afrin is mostly under Russian influence, but Mr. Erdoğan shouts at the U.S.,” she said.

“If America is the guilty party here, say ‘I’m closing the base in Malatya, the missile system, I’m closing İncirlik’ ... Secondly, what did you talk about with Russia on the subject of Afrin?”

Akşener emphasised that the government should not go to war lightly, and recommended that politicians whose sons had bought their way out of military service be sent to Afrin if action was to be taken.

“If the serious space called the state has given a serious decision in relation to Afrin, of course we are behind our state as Turkish citizens, but it is mothers’ dear sons who will go there and face possible martyrdom,” she said.

“All politicians’ children who have done paid (reduced-term) military service should go to Afrin. Then we will understand that this is an issue of national importance.”

Akşener also commented on Steven Spielberg’s movie The Post, which she and the interviewer had just been to see.

“Nixon is vindictive,” she said. “Now we have someone who is beyond vindictive.”

The film, the newspaper said, included incidents of the press being accused of being traitors, bans on press accreditation and other repression of the media in ways that Turkish journalists would recognise.

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