President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for ignoring improvements by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the country for the last 17 years. Speaking at a local election rally in the central province of Eskişehir, Erdoğan said that Turkey would continue to hold on to the economic and democratic developments of the last 17 years, despite the ignorance of opposition figures over the issue. Giving examples of improvements in the country, Erdoğan said that today, the Turkish economy has come to a level that is capable of producing high-value technology products.
"We produced our first domestic car in these lands. Unfortunately, it was sabotaged by the CHP, which cannot stand anything domestic and national," said Erdoğan in a reference to the country's past.
Erdoğan refers to the Devrim, which was the first ever automobile designed and produced in Turkey. The Devrim project was launched by the junta after the 1960 military coup in a bid to boost the popularity of the government and develop the automobile and heavy industry in Turkey. The Turkish Locomotive and Engine Company Inc. (TÜLOMSAŞ) engineers and workers in Eskişehir managed to construct two prototypes from scratch in just 145 days; however, the project was scrapped after they forgot to put gasoline in the prototypes during their first exhibition, which turned out to be a huge embarrassment for junta leader and President Cemal Gürsel.
The president noted that although years have passed since the production of that first car, the CHP still opposes mega projects, including the Keban Dam, the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and the Marmaray line.
"The reason why they oppose this much is the fact that these projects are beyond their imagination," Erdoğan added.
"We generate six of the biggest 10 ongoing projects in the world. They try to sabotage each one of them. If they are capable, they would make our economy dependent on the outside," said Erdoğan, adding that the nation will not allow any backlash from this process of development.
In response to Kılıçdaroğlu's questioning of the AK Party's performance in the last 17 years, Erdoğan said that the AK Party has made investments in Eskişehir, not the province's municipality, which is under the control of the CHP. He noted that the government made the investment for a 33,000-capacity football stadium in Eskişehir and recently announced the construction of an international railway system research and test center at Anadolu University.
"Its project and budget are ready. Our rector is following the process," said Erdoğan and added that they will continue to develop Eskişehir with new projects.
With daily campaign rallies and politicians' speeches, Turkey is gearing up for local elections on March 31. Twelve political parties will participate in the local elections.