Erdogan delivers New Year message to nation

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan briefs nation outlining major developments of 2015 in New Year message released on Dec. 31

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a media conference, prior to his departure for Saudi Arabia for a two-day visit, at the State Guest House of the Istanbul Ataturk Airport on Dec. 29, 2015

Updated Jan 1, 2016

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his new year message on Dec. 31 reviewed the major developments of 2015 for the Turkish nation from parliamentary elections to foreign policy issues and the war against terrorism.

Erdogan described 2015 as being the year in which "crucial developments have been actualised for the country and nation," saying that the country has "stepped into 2016 with new hopes and excitement."

The Turkish president said that the country had gone through two crucial back-to-back elections in 2015.

"The situation following the June 7 election thankfully went on for a short period," Erdogan said.

According to the results of the June 7 election, no political party was able to form a majority government, which meant either a coalition or a minority government had to be formed, or new elections would be held.

“As soon as it was clear that a coalition government [after June 7] could not be established, we executed a [political] process using our powers authorised by the constitution ensuring that the national will should have the final say,” Erdogan stated.

He also said the Turkish nation decided in favour of stability over uncertainty in the November 1st election in order to break the political deadlock which had emerged following the June 7 election.

Erdogan also touched on the Syrian conflict in his New Year's message, saying that Turkey has been on the side of the oppressed since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Turkey has consistently defended the toppling of the Assad regime, backing opposition groups in Syria since the beginning of the conflict.

"[Turkey’s] principled stand regarding the Syrian crisis has also been valid for countries like Iraq, Egypt, and Libya," he said.

He emphasised that Turkey bears no responsibility for the Syrian conflict just as it is not responsible for the crises in the countries of Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Palestine.

Erdogan noted that his country hosts many Syrian and Iraqi refugees regardless of their ethnicity, religion, sect, or worldview, saying that "being human is enough" in order for them to be hosted in Turkey.

Syrian refugees escaping the violence in their country fled Syria in large numbers following the escalation of the Syrian Civil War in 2012.

One of their most preferred destinations was neighbouring Turkey, which hosts the most Syrian refugees in the world according to registration records of the United Nations.

Turkey has spent more than $8 billion of its own money on the refugees, whose number close to 2.3 million people.

Turkey hosts 300,000 Iraqi refugees in addition to the Syrians.

Erdogan in his speech also addressed the current political crisis with Russia, which has recently decided to impose economic sanctions on Turkey after the country shot down a Russian fighter jet over an airspace violation on Nov. 24.

Erdogan declared that Turkey could not "tolerate any violation of its sovereign rights" though it doesnt' desire tension between the countries.

Finally, the president discussed with the nation the issue of PKK terrorism which has led to the deaths of 200 Turkish security officers after the PKK’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two and a half year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11 and threatened Turkey with further attacks.

Erdogan has accused the PKK of "transforming into a puppet of the countries and murky institutions which nurture enmity towards Turkey."

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The PKK has proved through "its recently relaunched terror attacks that it has absolutely nothing to do with defending the rights and demands of the people [living in Turkey’s southeastern and eastern regions] when Turkey has been so close to a resolution," Erdogan stated.

In the beginning of 2013, Turkey announced a "Resolution Process" aimed at resolving the armed conflict and the PKK seemed responsive until mid-July 2015 under the instructions of its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Erdogan said that Turkish security forces will eradicate the PKK from the whole country including its mountains, cities, and every other inch of Turkey.

He said that security forces have killed 3,100 terrorists in 2015 during their internal and external operations in response to the PKK attacks.

He also drew attention to the recent "trench politics" of the PKK, saying that it has been aiming to prevent Turkey reaching its stated national goals.

"Turkey will overcome all the obstacles in the concert of its own state and nation with God willing," he added, wishing a happy New Year to all the citizens of Turkey.   

TRTWorld and agencies