Former US ambassador Ricciardone: Turkish people have spoken

MEHMET SOLMAZ
ISTANBUL
Published 02.11.2015 21:29

Three days before Sunday's election, The Economist weekly took a harsh tone against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), in the subheading of an editorial: "Turks should vote against the ruling Justice and Development party on November 1st."

Demonizing Erdoğan took a new level with collective defamation by certain foreign media outlets, with some calling on the Western world to intervene in Turkish democracy. A piece in The Independent was titled: "If Turkey chooses Erdogan at the polls this weekend, ISIS will be strengthened and the refugee crisis will worsen."

Commenting on the issue, former U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone said high political polarization leads to extreme criticism and pointed to The Economist's call and said foreigners do not have a say in another country's elections. "Turkish people took their own decision and voted for one of the most remarkable parties of Turkish history," he said. "Turkish people have spoken."

Congratulating "the leadership of Turkey," Ricciardone praised the Turkish nation for its high turnout for the "most important election" that the country has faced. He drew attention to the stressful atmosphere in the country, the civil war in neighboring Syria and said the peaceful election that saw "no irregularities" should lead the country to focus on its ties with its allies.

Such important issues like solving the reunification of Cyprus, the refugee crisis in the EU and further strengthening relations with the Arab world, Turkey now has the opportunity to work efficiently for its national interests in tranquility, Ricciardone said, and described the United States as a "best friend" of its NATO ally Turkey.

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