Turkish Grand National Assembly 25th Term 2nd Legislative Year Opening Speech

01.10.2015

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament,

I salute you all with most heartfelt feelings on this day marking the launch of the 2nd Legislative Year of the 25th Term of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

I want to express my gratitude to all members of the parliament, who served under this glorious roof from the launch of the parliament on April 23, 1920 until the 25th term.

I remember with respect all late members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, particularly Mustafa Kemal the First Speaker of the Parliament.

And on the occasion of the launch of this Legislative Year, I remember all  our martyrs with gratitude, and I wish peace upon the souls of late veterans and long lives to those that are still alive.

I want to commemorate today especially members of the parliament, who were elected with the votes of our nation to represent the nation under this roof, but were slain in various ways.

I commemorate with respect and wish a place in heaven to Ali Şükrü Bey, Gün Sazak, Adnan Menderes, Hasan Polatkan, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and all other names slain as they served at the Parliament and shed light on the democratic path at the cost of their lives.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament…

As is known, June 7 elections did not bring any political party to power alone.

The 25th term of our Turkish Grand National Assembly may have been rather short.

However, it bears a significant meaning for it laid out the supremacy of national will and its capability in producing solutions.

This process we are in, has been a first-ever experience in our democratic history.

Although a government could not be established, Turkey implemented the Constitution word by word and performed a huge democratic maturity.

The challenges faced by economy and politics in Turkey during similar experiences in the past are known to all of us.

Turkey agonized for months in crises during times of inability to set up a functioning government or to elect a president.

In some cases, democracy was suspended.

Interventionists, guardianship fans, who embraced the excuse of “political inability to produce solutions”, did not only weaken politics but also carved deep wounds in our democracy.

The way Turkey handled the process from June 7 until today in line with the requirements of democracy, law, politics and national will is a major achievement for all of us.

With this term, we tested the distance politics and the state covered in institutionalization in our country, we had a chance to see the advanced level we have achieved.

The existential goal of political parties is to defend the political arena and to perform their representational duties in the best possible way.

Political parties that desert this field with non-political concerns and avoid the responsibility are denouncing their own existence.

No one can escape the responsibility by putting the blame of this political vacuum on others, particularly on the Presidential office.

I want to underline once again that searching for solutions to Turkey’s problems outside of politics and in non-political centers is the greatest misdeed against this country and this nation.

Our nation is capable of unlocking all deadlocks.

National will is the one and only exit.

If Allah permits, Turkey will go to the polls on November 1 once again in line with democratic rules and execute the national will.

On November 1, reflection of national will on the ballot box in the healthiest way is a matter of dignity and honor for all political parties inside and outside the parliament.

I hope that all political parties will assume a humane and conscientious manner and be in a facilitative approach in order to prevent the ugly face of terror from threatening the ballot boxes.

We should draw a careful line between our political differences and the interests of the country and the nation and we should all commit to our responsibilities.

At this point, I want to underline that the unity of our nation, integrity of our country, our flag, national anthem, and official language are basic common values for all of us.

Abiding by the pledges and pacts made from this sacred rostrum is a moral duty for all more than it is a democratic task.

If we cannot take action as one and single body when the matter is Turkey’s independence and future, it means we have failed in our responsibilities towards our nation.

Political parties and political figures are in a competition of serving our country and our nation.

No one has or can have an objection to this fact.

But shifting of this competition towards a basis that could yield results against the interests of the country and the nation is unacceptable.

Those who lean their backs against power centers other than the nation, especially against terror organizations and parallel structures, and those engaging in perception operations over these will not be able to escape being held accountable by our nation and our laws.

The foresight and prudence of our nation is sensitive enough to make a clear distinction between what is national and local and what is not national and alienated.

In this regard, November 1 elections are an extremely important test.

I wholeheartedly believe that Turkey will successfully leave behind this major test.

After the elections, Turkish economy will continue to grow and Turkish democracy will march into the future with firm steps.

Turkey is by all means in good hands and history, make no mistake about it, will continue to witness Turkey’s unstoppable growth and strengthening.

All attacks targeting Turkey are bound to dissolve in the face of the steel will of this country.

Not a single citizen should feel concerned.

Like an arrow released from the bow, Turkey is in an irreversible period of leaps and hopefully we will definitely reach our 2023 goals.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament,

We, as a nation, experienced all together in the past 13 years the effects of a high-standard democracy, and an atmosphere of stability and security on the Turkish economy.

Under a strong, determined, honest and transparent administration, Turkish economy grew by an average of 5% annually in the past 13 years.

Our national income jumped from $230 billion up to $800 billion as of 2014.

Our exports have risen from $36 billion to $158 billion.

Inflation and interest rates receded back to historic lows in this atmosphere of stability and trust.

As international investments increased, Turkey became the shining star of the world with investments in new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, tunnels and other types of infrastructure.

The length of high speed railway, constructed and opened to service, has reached 1,213 kilometers.

Passenger transportation on the lines between Ankara-Eskişehir-Istanbul and between Ankara-Konya still continues today.

High speed rail lines between Ankara-Sivas, Bursa-Bilecik, Ankara-İzmir and Konya-Karaman are under construction.

We aim to increase the length of high speed railway network in our country up to 13 thousand kilometers by 2023.

Similarly, we have achieved great progress in air transportation and made air travel a viable option for our people.

The number of airports, which was 26 in 2002, has reached 55 after construction 29 new airports in 13 years.

We can also see this beautiful picture in all other areas including education, healthcare and energy.

Turkey will never give upon and back down from this grand development move.

Q2 growth rate, just ahead of June 7 elections, turned out beyond expectations at 3,8%.

The atmosphere of stability and trust prevailing since the end of 2002 became questionable with the result of June 7 elections, and this indeed led to perturbation.

However, structural reforms introduced in the past 13 years have blocked a serious trauma in economy.

Despite the months-long uncertainty, Turkish economy did not face an unfixable shock.

Today, we are the least affected economy in Europe and in our region by the effects of global crisis.

Our banking system is one of the safest and strongest systems in the world.

Partial stagnation in economic indicators is temporary.

I hope that the strong government to be established after November 1 will be the turning point for economic indicators to go upwards once again.

We should not allow those trying to turn this atmosphere into an opportunity for their own agenda.

Especially the economy bureaucracy must take determined actions.

We also cannot accept financial sector acting in a way that could put the real sector at risk.

These are all temporary periods.

Turkish economy, with its outward structure, in line with the rules of global competition, will continue on its path with principles of being based on production, fairness and comprehensive growth.

Despite all attacks, Turkey will reach its 2023 economic goals and be the shining star of the world.

 

Mr Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament…

We experienced together extremely critical developments for our country in the period from October 1 last year, when we launched the legislative year of Turkish Grand National Assembly until today.

I believe particularly the Domestic Security Package discussed in the final weeks of the previous term made crucial contributions to our security forces and legal branches in the fight against terror.

In this one-year long period, unfortunately, we faced multiple painful incidents.

Incidents taking place right next to us in Iraq and Syria have intensified and had different reflections on our country.

50 citizens were killed during October 6-8 events that started at the call of the leader of a political party –an act, which I call “huge irresponsibility.”

Back in those days, I shared with our public some information expressed by US President Barack Obama regarding the DEAŞ attacks against the region called Ayn al-Arab or Kobani and I said “the region could fall any moment.”

Members of the separatist terror organization and members of a political party aligned with them misinterpreted my words and lighted the fire that burned our country and led to bloodshed.

Indeed, we had already opened our doors to 220 thousand people running from the clashes in this particular region.

And we are still hosting a great majority of these people.

We are the ones that allowed the passage of Peshmerga and Free Syria Army forces through our lands to defend this region.

It is also us who sent hundreds of truck-loads of humanitarian supplies to the region and mediated the transfer of these supplies to locations that needed them.

These circles, who continuously administer the wheel of lies and instigation, are still not backing away from repeating the same accusations despite the clear facts at hand.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament…

I want to express this matter once again here to you and our beloved nation.

As  Turkey, we have always kept open our hearts and doors to our brothers and sisters in Syria and Iraq as we did to our brothers and sisters in the Balkans, Central Asia, North Africa, Africa and other regions of Asia. And we will continue to do so.

What matters to us is our common history, cultural proximity, civilization partnership and the humane values we share with these brothers and sisters.

What we call Syria and Iraq at present, were geographies no different to us than Mardin, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep and Hatay just a century ago.

Drawing a line between our citizens and those living in Syria and Iraq would make us embarrassed in the eyes of history, our ancestors and especially our martyrs.

Our approach towards these lands and our brothers living there can never be the same as that of Western states and others.

Trouble of our brothers living in Kobani or another city in the region is a concern for us as much as it is to them; and it leads us to take action.

With this approach, we opened our doors to our brothers coming from Syria and Iraq and we will keep them open.

We still continue to offer all kinds of help to our brothers and sisters living in these countries.

We cannot leave these people to death in the Mediterranean, and to suffering at the borders or train stations, as some other European countries do.

The word “brother” is not just a word in our tongues, but an expression of feeling that comes from our hearts with a thousand year old background philosophy.

We may have limited possibilities but we have rich hearts.

And we have been collecting the benefits of our rich hearts for the past 5 years, hopefully, we will continue to do so.

As European countries that have much better capabilities than Turkey are panicking in the face of a few hundred thousand refugees at their borders, we have been hosting millions of brothers and sisters for many years.

Of course there are problems, and there will be.

Wherever it may be on earth, 2 million people would cause certain problems.

But, we should also admit that the quality of hospitality we show to millions of people in our country has no match elsewhere on earth.

The situation of people in the refugee camps or those living in the cities with their own means or with support from others is very good compared to other countries.

This is not our claim.

All foreigners with a fair and conscience heart that come and see the situation in our country with their own eyes express their gratitude and appreciation and underline this fact.

As we bear these feelings to all of our brothers outside our borders, is it possible that we could discriminate any region, any walk of life or group of people inside our country?

Such a claim is separatism, and more importantly it is slander against Turkey and our nation.

I would be the first one to stand up against any different attitude of Turkey that opened its heart to people coming from Crimea, Caucasus, Balkans, Afghanistan, Turkistan and certain parts of Central Asia in the past.

I am not saying all of these to fling our favors in anyone’s teeth, but I am only expressing myself on a matter that is being exploited.

Mr Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament…

Despite everything, Turkey stands as an island of confidence and stability in a region where instability, clashes and chaos is ever-increasing.

Turkey has never looked at its neighbors and regional countries solely from the window of interests.

We definitely do not have an ethnic or sectarian based approach to incidents taking place in countries in the region.

We have never preferred short-term interests to values that make us who we are and we never will.

We are not in an effort to save the day but we are in an effort to build a common future together with our brothers in the region.

With this understanding, we are working hard to establish the rule of peace, tranquility, stability and confidence in our region and across the world.

We stand up for all oppressed people and victims without paying attention to their roots, sects, or beliefs, let them be Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Yazidis, Shi’ite, Sunni, Nusayri, Christian or Jew.

So far, we have spent over $7,5 billion for the guests that have come to our country.

Only $417 million of this figure was provided by donations of other countries.

Turkey saved the honor of all of humanity by performing neighborly responsibilities and hosting more than 2 million Syrian and Iraqi brothers for 4 years.

With great self-sacrifice, our nation gave a humanitarian lesson to the international community.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to every single Turkish citizen of 78 million citizens for this humanitarian stance.

European states have started facing this serious issue that has been ignored for 4 years and laid as a burden on a few countries.

A solution cannot be found to issues fed by the civil war in Syria, instability in Libya and hardships in Africa and Asia by raising walls, fencing borders and stepping up security measures.

We must first stop massacres by getting to the core of the problem and  develop policies that are applicable to realities in the region.

As we have already mentioned, Syrian people cannot be forced to make a choice between the regime that massacres them and terror organizations.

Turkey will neither allow terror to take root just beside its borders nor unilateral faits accomplis.

Whatever its name, we will not allow terrorist organizations to carry out their activities in our country and region.

I wish that recent developments would lead to the settlement of this 5- year- long issue.

Turkey will continue to exert all possible efforts from now onward as it has done up until the present day.

 

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament,

As struggle to settle issues in our region continues, we maintain our determination regarding full membership into the European Union.

Turkey-EU relations have reached the present day based on the win-win strategy and we want to carry this on with the same understanding.

Despite this, we have not made significant progress in the process of negotiations for a long time due to political obstacles raised by some member states.

We know that the approach of some EU member states that are incompatible with European values and solidarity has resulted in this situation.

Incidents in Ukraine and the region have once again indicated the significance of Turkey-EU relations.

I believe that a new page based on objective facts will be opened in the forthcoming term by leaving aside this hesitant attitude toward our country.

On the other hand, Turkey gradually increases development assistance that it provides for underdeveloped and developing countries in parallel with its economic development.

We have raised our official development assistance to $ 4.5 billion in 2014 and  rank third in the world in this field.

Turkey is a country that provides the most humanitarian assistance in the world in proportion to its gross national product.

Next year, we will take another very important step in this matter and host World Humanitarian Summit to be organized for the first time.

This Summit will significantly contribute to set the future agenda in domains such as international humanitarian law, humanitarian intervention and assistance.

At a difficult time when growth has slowed down in developing countries and  activity in financial markets has affected all economies, Turkey has assumed the term presidency of G-20 as of December 1, 2014.

We have exerted efforts to strengthen legitimacy of the platform during our  term presidency for ten months.

Besides strong, balanced, sustainable and comprehensive growth targets , we have also made intense efforts for the formation of a more democratic G-20.

Hopefully, we will crown all our efforts at a G-20 Summit to be held in Antalya on November 15 and 16.

We will maintain with determination our policies that bring to the fore peace, solidarity, justice, rights and freedoms with a people-oriented understanding of development.

On the other hand, I would like to mention that Israel’s ongoing practices in Jerusalem based on pressure, violence and disrespect are dragging the region as well as the whole world into a dangerous situation.

Israel pursues a very wrong policy by continuously violating holiness of Al-Aqsa Mosque which is the first kiblah and Harem-I Sharif of Muslims.

As Turkey, we try to contribute to the settlement of the issue by holding talks with other countries in this issue and expressing our reaction.

I wish that Israel gives up this attitude as soon as possible and peace and security is established in Jerusalem that hosts holy sites of 3 religions.

 

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament,

I would like to once again remind the significance of a matter that I insistently note at this rostrum and other platforms.

This glorious Parliament was established 95 years ago on April 23, 1920, with an understanding embracing all colors of Turkey.

Today, every single Turkish citizen of 78 million citizens equally owns this Assembly, this state and naturally this homeland and is a first class citizen.

It is an undeniable truth that pressure was put on some different ethnic backgrounds, beliefs and sects in certain periods during this 95- year-long period.

In this sense, injustice was done to believers, those who had different opinions, Kurds and other segments and this injustice even turned to oppression from time to time.

We are people who have personally experienced this injustice since our youth and personally witnessed it.

The fact that instead of ignoring this injustice we have stated it loudly is mentioned in historical records.

Neither throughout my political career nor today I have been after any personal gain, title or position.

My nation has deemed me worthy of the highest title; the position of the President of the Republic of Turkey.

I am struggling for a Great Turkey, New Turkey, Powerful Turkey and a Turkey where 78 million are united and brothers.

I particularly want to call out to my Kurdish brothers from here:

We have always spoken with our Kurdish brothers through our heart.

Today, we still speak through our heart.

We want that the bridge of heart between us is maintained tomorrow, the day after and forever.

Every Kurdish brother of mine should put his hand on his heart and see great strides made by Turkey.

In fact, we both are the target of efforts made to separate us from each other and the game to make us each other’s enemies.

That is why I am saying that Kurds are different and terrorists are different.

The terror organization is not the representative of my Kurdish brothers.

Belief, values, ethics and honor of my Kurdish brothers are not suitable to walk the same path with such an organization.

Our struggle is not against an ethnic background; I emphasize, it is against terror, the terror organization and terrorists.

Our Kurdish brothers are the ones that are damaged by the terrorist organization the most.

This mentality that has massacred Elif Şimşek, Yasin Börü and Fırat Simpil and moreover despitefully conducts perception operations over dead bodies of children can have nothing in common with my Kurdish brothers.

We will continue to speak with our Kurdish brothers through our heart.

Today we are carrying out a bitter struggle against terror.

However, we are acting extremely sensitively not to destroy a thousand-year-old brotherhood and not to make concessions on freedoms.

The Solution Process was the last stage to establish brotherhood of 78 million citizens.

We knew that this was difficult but we had to try and struggle in order to be successful.

Arms had to be laid down for brotherhood, peace and New and Great Turkey as the last stage in this process.

Unfortunately, the organization that acted as a subcontractor for powers that are Turkey’s enemies did not do this.

The terror organization restarted its despicable and felonious attacks.

The Republic of Turkey replies to the terror organization in a language that it understands and will continue to do so.

This struggle will continue until this organization is no longer a threat to our country and nation; until arms are buried and concrete is poured over them.

Although some politicians, some media organizations, some traitorous and foreign circles support the terror organization, Turkey will absolutely not make any concessions on its struggle for freedom and future.

Our nation sees who really fights against terror, who stands by terror, supports terror and veils terror.

Making soldiers, policemen and guards of the Republic of Turkey look like soldiers, policemen and guards of person A and person B is openly protecting terrorists.

As terrorists attack our security forces every day, accusing those fighting against them is providing support for terror.

Expecting political gain from terror is, likewise, supporting terror.

Consenting to the terror organization establishing tutelage over politics is the biggest weakness in fight against terror.

If political parties do not band together in the face of terror, they will be embarrassed before the glorious memory of our martyrs and the nation.

I also call on countries supporting terror and terror organizations.

We know very well what you are doing and are following you very closely.

One day tongs that you are holding will burn your hands too.

DEAŞ, PKK, DHKP-C… Whatever their names are, those supporting terror organizations just because they damage Turkey should know that a day will come when these guns will be pointed at them too.

Because this is the character of terror: sooner or later it stings those carrying it like a scorpion.

Therefore, we expect all countries directly or indirectly supporting terror organizations to give up this attitude.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of the Parliament,

Fight against terrorists is important but not sufficient.

What matters is to fight against terror, to get to the core of the problem; in other words, to dry up a swamp.

Based on this understanding, on the one hand, we are taking steps to resolve the underdevelopment issue of the region that is continuously a subject of exploitation and on the other hand, we have materialized reforms to broaden rights and freedoms.

We have turned the first steps that we have taken as Democratic Drive to a National Unity and Brotherhood Project and launched the Solution Process to obtain the final result.

Our objective is to eliminate terror in all its dimensions and put a complete end to terrorists’ activities in our country.

We have struggled so that not a single soldier, policeman, guard and citizen is harmed, their blood is not shed, their families do not lament their death, children are not left orphans and parents are not sad.

Our nation that has seen our sincerity has supported and encouraged us in this process.

Incidents on October 6, 7 and 8 were our first important experience regarding new methods and the new face of terror.

We have seen that this structure that killed scores of innocent people without blinking an eye for the sake of their own objectives, still insists on the same methods and we shivered.

We have witnessed that as we were trying to put an end to bloodshed, some people were growing impatient to shed blood and rubbed their hands.

I personally determined in provinces that I visited plots made by those trying to put a leash on the national will with threat, pressure and violence ahead of June 7 elections.

Despite this, we have tried to maintain our belief in the fact that the process would continue within the boundaries of democracy, law, conscience, ethics and consideration.

However, the terror organization did not hesitate to activate its weapons, bombs and traps at the first opportunity.

It was also engaged in propaganda that “the incidents were launched by myself and the government” and made efforts to hide the truth and mislead.

Unfortunately, we see that the same propaganda is supported by various sectors particularly the media.

We have been struggling for a thousand years to make these lands our homeland.

If we will continue to live in this geographical area…And we are naturally going to live here as we have no other homeland to go… This means that we will continue our thousand-year-old struggle today and tomorrow as well.

I wish all the best to all security officers and other civil servants who have been assigned to fight against terror.

May Allah rest the souls of our martyrs and I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded.

I extend my sincere condolences to the families and friends of martyrs.

Our objective is to absolutely make this struggle successful and make sure that even a single drop of blood shed by our martyrs does not go to waste.

Fight against terror is the common task of the Parliament, the President, the Government and all state institutions concerned as well as political parties represented here.

We should stand united, in solidarity and cooperate in the face of terror by leaving aside all our differences.

We should not allow the slightest weakness on this side.

This is the issue that we need most for our local and national stand.

We must be strong-willed and band together in the face of ongoing change in the global system and turmoil in our region.

This is the only way that will enable us to leave a safe, peaceful and prosperous future for our children.

And for this we say ONE NATION, ONE FLAG, ONE HOMELAND and ONE STATE.

We must build Turkey’s future on these four pillars.

No one should be disturbed by these four pillars.

These four pillars are the ones that bring together 78 million under the same roof.

As the grandchildren of the Seljuk Sultan Nurettin Zengi and Eyyubi Sultan Selahattin Eyyubi, we have built these four pillars together over centuries and will take them to the future together.

Let us make good use of this opportunity when the global system is active and going through a process of restructuring.

Let us protect Turkey’s gains and objectives together.

As we regret opportunities that were wasted when we look at the past, let us not allow next generations to remember us with similar feelings.

Let us build the Powerful, Great and New Turkey together and leave a trace in history that we will remember with gratitude.

We could not seize this opportunity in the 25th Term Parliament.

I believe that the 26th Term Parliament to be elected in November 1 elections will make good use of this historical opportunity.

With these thoughts in mind, I once again congratulate the distinguished members of the 25th term Parliament thanks to whom our country has gained significant experience.

I wish October 1will lead to better days for our country, nation, all political parties, all members of parliament and candidates.

I salute you all with love and respect.  May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you.