Holding a news conference at Atatürk Airport ahead of a travel to West Africa covering Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said regarding the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül pursuant to the ruling of Constitutional Court that: “I just keep silent in the face of Constitutional Court’s ruling; however, I am not in a position to approve the ruling. I neither obey nor respect the ruling because we have an obvious truth. This is not a ruling for acquittal, but a ruling for release.”
“THIS CASE IS NOT ABOUT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, BUT ABOUT SPYING”
In reply to a question regarding constitutional court’s ruling on the release of Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, President Erdoğan said: “I haven’t spoken about this matter so far. Let me be clear that this event has nothing to do with freedom of expression. This is a case of spying. Presidential Spokesperson also made a statement regarding the case on Friday. We should see the obvious truth. The press cannot have a limitless freedom. Nowhere in the world is the press granted limitless freedom. This news contained all types of attacks against the President, the then-Prime Minister, of this country. It is out of the question for us to just stand by and watch a pressman slander or insult the Prime Minister and the President of this country as he wishes.”
“NOT A RULING FOR ACQUITAL BUT A RULING FOR RELEASE”
Stating that he would keep silent in the face of the ruling, President Erdoğan said: “Let me be clear that I don’t accept this ruling. I neither obey nor respect it. Because the truth is obvious. This is not a ruling for acquittal, but a ruling for release. In fact the court that made the judgement about them could have insisted on its judgement. If they had done so, the ruling by the constitutional court or the personal application to it would come to naught and so they would have to apply to the European Court of Human Rights; the judgement from which they might get is apparent. The press has reached the most ideal level with regards the freedom of thought during our presence in power for the last 13-14 years. Before our governments, hundreds of pressmen used to be imprisoned. They have been freed thanks to regulations we have made. Those attacking us overlook this.”
“NOBODY CAN ATTACK THIS COUNTRY UNDER THE GUISE OF FREEDOM OF THOUGHT”
Stressing that he stood by the freedom of thought and expression to the full extent, President Erdoğan noted no one could be granted the liberty to attack this country under the guise of freedom of thought and expression and added: “This is spying because intelligence organisations in every country have almost infinite legal power and so they can’t be interfered so easily by any ordinary prosecutor. I cannot feel at ease when someone interferes in the aids our National Intelligence Organisation provides to the Turkmens of Bayırbucak.
In answer to a question regarding the cessation of hostilities in Syria, President Erdoğan noted that the cessation of hostilities was not observed in the whole Syria, but observed partially in one third of the country.
“WE WON’T LET TERROR ORGANISATIONS CREATE A CORRIDOR IN NORTHERN SYRIA”
Citing news that Daesh had regained control over 70 percent of Tel Abyad after its offensive to the city last night and coalition powers launched airstrikes to the city, President Erdoğan continued: “A ceasefire hasn’t been reached in other regions of Syria, either. I hope we reach a ceasefire in the whole Syria soon and peace is ensured. If that can be succeeded, the Geneva process might be reactivated. Otherwise, this situation undermines the steps we would take for security. The PYD’s and YPG’s aim to create a corridor in the north is receiving support from some people. We all know who they are. Yet, we have reiterated many times that Turkey wouldn’t allow such a corridor to be created since this would constitute a source of danger for us. There is also a concept of boutique state that is wanted to be founded in the north and south of Latakiya. I have already told who wants to found this state for whom. I hope these attempts will all fail.
DISCUSSIONS ON HOLDING A REFERENDUM FOR NEW CONTITUTION AND PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM
In answer to a question about holding separate referendums for the new constitution and the presidential system, President Erdoğan stressed that this duty didn’t belong to the Office of the President, but to the Parliament and so the Parliament would give the decision on it.