Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took to the airwaves on Tuesday, Oct. 22 to vociferously support his embattled (but only outside of Turkey) National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan, and the democratization plans he announced at the end of last month.
Fidan has been the object of criticism because of a perceived shift in Turkish alliances. In particular, a closeness to Iran and a hardened posture towards Israel are among the changes for which Fidan has been blamed.
But if anyone thought Erdoğan might use Fidan as a fall guy to retain good graces with some in the west, The Turkish leader put those thoughts to rest with a barnburner of a speech on Tuesday.
He railed on about the terror that Turkey has withstood over the past 30 years, but really began shouting when he go to casting the blame for Turkey’s problems which he blamed for trying to interrupt his countries moves towards democracy:
But while we do this there are those who wish to put our institutions under suspicion. When the time comes you now see that they’re attempting to engage our MİT undersecretary. Who is engaging our MİT undersecretary? Be careful. This is very important. There are those agitating from inside and those agitating from outside. Sorry, but we will stand behind our valued bureaucrats and technocrats and won’t take their favor from others. If there is a complaint, we will evaluate it, and then we will do what is necessary.
He continued, in what some might call a show of strength, while others speculated whether there were strains of paranoia seeping in to his rhetoric.
I want everyone to know this: Turkey is not a country to be operated on. To this day we have not allowed this, and we will never allow it in the future. They think we are unaware of their circles, special campaigns and real intentions. We know all about it. Turkey will not bow down to these campaigns, fall for these tricks or change its route. We have no interest other than securing justice, law, human rights and freedoms, whether that is in Turkey or in the wider region.
According to Turks who watched the speech, Erdoğan sounded as if he was threatening all those “sinister forces” who were trying to interfere with “his democracy plans for Turkey.”
The Turkish prime minister gave his fiery speech during an AK Party meeting.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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