Approximately 1.2 million supporters attended the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s rally in Istanbul Sunday.
In his speech, Erdogan urged politicians to work harder for the success of their parties. If the leaders of the two main opposition parties remain in their positions, he said, the ruling AK Party will most likely be reelected.
“The government of AK Party is committed to providing for all citizens irrespective of their religious and racial differences. We do not discriminate between Turks, Kurds, Arabs, or Albanians living in Turkey. And although the majority of Turkish citizens are Muslims, we do not discriminate against non-Muslims.”
“When the nationalist party handed over the country’s leadership to the AK Party, Turkey was indebted to its civil servants with 13.5 billion Turkish Liras,” Erdogan told the crowd, described by media outlets as the largest in Turkish history. Today, however, Turkish treasury includes USD 128 billion in foreign reserves, he added.
Erdogan added that the government intends to embark on a number of projects, including the “third international airport” in Istanbul, a project that would cost USD 46 billion, “the Istanbul Canal” which would connect the Black Sea with Marmara Sea, and the “Sultan Selim Bridge” which would be established by the end of 2015. Turkey has also fulfilled its dream to connect the European and Asian sides of Istanbul through the underwater railway project “Marmaray Tunnel”.
Moreover, Erdogan slammed the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish government of systematic infiltration of government agencies, particularly the security apparatus and the Judiciary. Erdogan accused Gulen’s group of setting up a “parallel entity”, and of holding daily night prayers against his government.
Erdogan claimed that Gulen fled Turkey to the US using a fake passport, and that he lives in self-imposed solitude in Pennsylvania instead of his hometown in Turkey, or Mecca.
Regarding the controversial Twitter ban, Erdogan said that the social networking website started to shut down a number of accounts which the Turkish government requested it to suspend following court orders. The suspended Twitter accounts allegedly publicized defamatory content and fabricated recordings.