Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan avoided commenting on the detention of three ministers’ sons, several public servants and a number of well-known businessmen over corruption allegations, saying the end of the legal process should be concluded first.
“It would not be right for me to speak before the legal process is finalized,” he said, while answering reporters’ questions after a mass opening ceremony in the Central Anatolian province of Konya.
In a speech he delivered at the ceremony earlier in the day, the prime minister had defied “some dark circles” that he claimed to be “threatening the nation.”
“Turkey is not a country that can have operations or surgeries performed on it. The AK Party [the Justice and Development Party] leadership will not permit that,” Erdogan said, possibly referring to the morning’s operation.
The prime minister was not informed about the operations and learned about it only when the detainments started, daily Hürriyet reported, quoting an unnamed source from Ankara.
“Some people have guns and weapons, tricks and traps, but we have our God and that is enough for us. The nation is enough for us,” Erdogan said in his speech.
“They can stoop to whatever ugly methods they would like or engage with dirty alliances, but we will not bow to any threats, I will repeat this one more time here,” the prime minister said, reasserting his confidence in the “nation’s will.”
He went on to slam “some people backed by dark circles, gangs, media or capital owners,” saying they “will not manage to draw the direction of Turkey.”
“The seal is in the hands of the nation,” Erdogan said, also challenging groups to “attend the elections” if they intend to defeat the government.
“Whoever has a score to settle and feels confident, there is a [local] election on March 30. They shall enter elections and encounter the nation there. Neither the nation, nor we, will give permission to those who seek to settle their scores outside the ballot box. Turkey is not a banana republic,” he said.
“Nobody from outside or inside can stir up troubles in my country, nobody can set up ugly traps,” Erdo?an added.