A great and strong Turkey will be built by implementing the policies, projects and investments in our agenda, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated late Monday.
Turkey will soon be counted among the world's top-tier countries, both politically and economically, he said after a nearly two-hour Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in the capital, Ankara.
"Amid the restructuring of the global management and economic system, we have seized the most important opportunity of the last two centuries to bring Turkey to the place it deserves," Erdoğan added.
With the fall in COVID-19 cases and an expedited vaccination drive in the country, Turkey has entered a new normalization phase, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions.
Erdoğan said that the country's new normalization phase is running successfully and stressed that vaccination is the most effective and widespread method of protection in the world against the pandemic.
Focusing on how the latest COVID-19 variants are threatening the world, Erdoğan hailed the country's "strong" health system and praised Turkey's vaccination rates.
Erdoğan called on the public to continue to follow hygiene rules, masking and social distancing until herd immunity is achieved.
About tourism, Erdoğan said the sector is working at full speed with the target of 25 million tourists and $20 billion in tourism income.
"In 2021, we will break the all-time record by increasing our exports to over $200 billion. The interest of international investors in our country is increasing day by day," he added.
On next week's Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, the president said: "We must spend the holidays while abiding by (COVID-19) measures. We must not let go of measures if we don't want to face similar challenges in the future."
He recalled his visit to the southeastern Diyarbakır province last week, saying that he had spent a "very special" day with locals.
Last week on Friday, Erdoğan paid a visit to the families who have been staging a sit-in protest for nearly two years in front of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) office in Diyarbakır to demand the return of their children abducted by the terrorist group. Protests held by Diyarbakır mothers have revealed the dark face of the PKK terrorist group, he said. Erdoğan also criticized the indifference of Western countries and human rights organizations to the protests.
Families in Diyarbakır province have been protesting since Sept. 3, 2019, encouraging their children who were abducted or forcibly recruited by the terrorist group to give up their weapons and surrender to Turkish authorities.
The protest started when Hacire Akar turned up on the doorstep of the HDP’s Diyarbakır office one night, demanding to be reunited with her son. Akar’s son Mehmet returned home on Aug. 24, 2019, giving hope to other families.
A week later, on Sept. 3, 2019, families inspired by Akar staged a collective sit-in protest.
Since then, the number of families demanding the return of their children who, they say, were deceived or kidnapped by the terrorist group, has been gradually growing.
As Turkey's July 15 Democracy and National Unity Day nears, Erdoğan said: "Every July 15 will be a reminder for us of our determination to break the treacherous hands targeting our country and nation."
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Erdoğan also condemned a Sunday incident where a group in Istanbul desecrated the Surp Takavor Armenian Church in the city's Kadıköy district.
He vowed to closely monitor the handling of the incident