Hundreds of thousands filled the square hosting the rally for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Erzurum city in a show of support for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan… Erzurum residents who came out to attend the rally were visibly angry with those harboring intentions to incite chaos in Turkey, and using the Taksim Gezi Park protests as the means to do so. Participants expressed regularly that although Erdoğan has visited Erzurum in the past, they had never before seen this extent of crowds flock out to welcome the Prime Minister.
Erdoğan addressed the Gezi Park protests, assuring the crowds, "We will uncover piece by piece all of these set-ups, lies and slander." Directing a message to the protesters themselves, Prime Minister Erdoğan said, "If you have the courage, the sincerity and belief in democracy and in the national will, then the elections are coming, please pay a visit to the poll booths in eight months' time."
Calling the Gezi Park protests a façade, Erdoğan said it was all part of a game geared towards depredation. "With the AK Party coming into power, all depredations came to an end, therefore that has now become their main concern and intention," said Erdoğan referring to the opposition. Assuring that the nation will not allow these intentions to flourish, the Prime Minister stated, "This finale will be written by the poll booths."
Addressing the crowd, Erdoğan assured that in their democracy, they do not recognize any other force besides the national will and stated, "The people have brought us to power and only the people can take us down. We only recognize two forces in this world, one is God and the other is the people."
Prime Minister Erdoğan referred to the Taksim Gezi Park protesters as "occupation forces" and admitted that when he returned from a North Africa tour he ordered his Interior Minister to clear the square in 24 hours. "Were we just supposed to sit and watch these occupational forces? Yesterday they wanted to occupy the square again. The police were patient up to a certain point," he said. "When they didn't leave the police was forced to get them out," said Erdoğan emphasizing that no one has the right to disrupt public order and any attempts to do so will be met with police intervention. Erdoğan called on the protesters and the youths in the streets to be aware of the game being played and to return to their homes, before they incur further damage on Turkey. "I want them to now stop working on behalf of Turkey's enemies.
Criticizing the spreading of disinformation on social networking sites, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated, "Even if they published a million false reports, none would be able to hold up. This is what they did over Twitter, thinking that they would be able to get somewhere through fabricating news."
Prime Minister Erdoğan also commented on certain famous figures who spoke out regularly claiming the protests were not just about Gezi Park. "These supposed socialists are now mostly in Bodrum, on their yachts or drinking whiskey along the Bosporus. They aren't socialists," said Erdoğan adding, "If you seek social justice, it is in the AK Party."
Erdoğan recalled a time when former German Chancellor Schröder told him there was no way Turkey's CHP could be social democrats. "He said, 'You are the social democrats,' to which I responded, 'I am not a social democrat, I am for social justice and we are conservative democrats." In reference to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kılıçdaroğlu, Erdoğan stated, "The veteran Mustafa Kemal was not the type of leader who would complain about his own nation to other countries. However, this party leader has complained about us to Germany and to Holland. He refers to the protesters as Mustafa Kemal's soldiers, however that is where you draw the line, we will not allow the heroes of our War of Independence to be subject to such insult. The soldiers of the War of Independence didn't enter mosques with their shoes on and then drink there. They also never laid a hand on those wearing headscarves. Those who say, 'we are Mustafa Kemal's soldiers' do not realize that they have actually become the soldiers of the interest-rate lobby."
Accusing the main opposition of trying to incite sectarian strife, Erdoğan called on the public to remain as vigilant as possible against those attempting to create an Alevi-Sunni divide in Turkey. "Both the CHP chairman and a fellow deputy from his own homeland are conducting dangerous provocation in order to foment sectarian tension," said Erdoğan reminding that even though the CHP was in power during the Dersim massacre (in which mass numbers of Alevis and Zazas were killed in the late 1930's in what is now present-day Tunceli) they have yet to apologize. "However, I as the prime minister have apologized. Everyone needs to be aware of and not misled by the use of CHP by certain nations and media establishments in order to incite tension," stated Erdoğan.
The Prime Minister also referred to the ongoing resolution process to put an end to what he called the shackles of terrorism, which have been Turkey's ball and chain. "From here on out, we will be able to conduct even further reforms. We will take further steps and will have a chance to progress. You should have no concerns. The 21st century will be the century of Turkey."
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