Delivering a speech at a ceremony held for the start of 2016-2017 academic year at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University (RTEÜ) in the province of Rize, President Erdoğan, touching on discussions surrounding the Mosul operation, stated: “What is it they are doing now? They are plotting to grab Mosul from the people of Mosul and offer it to others. But we insist that in Mosul should live the people of Mosul.”
Accompanied by First Lady Emine Erdoğan, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey İsmail Kahraman and ministers, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University to mark the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year.
“TURKEY HAS ALWAYS EMBRACED WITH OPEN ARMS ALL THE OPPRESSED AND VICTIMS”
“Turkey has always embraced with open arms all the oppressed and victims, and never left its kinsmen alone,” underscored President Erdoğan, and he continued: “Our physical boundaries are different from the boundaries of our heart. We should differentiate between them. We of course show respect for physical boundaries; but we cannot draw boundaries to our heart, nor do we allow it. Some ask us, ‘why do you care about Iraq, why do you care about Syria.’ They are asking, ‘why do you care about Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea, Azerbaijan, Karabakh, the Balkans, North Africa.’ These questions might be expanded. However, note that no one is asking the countries that come to our immediate environ from thousands of kilometres away ‘what business do you have here.’ None of the places for which they ask us ‘what business do you have here,’ are foreign to us. I am asking you Rize my dear bothers. Is it possible to separate Rize from Batumi? Or is it possible to think Edirne apart from Thessaloniki or Kardzhali? How come you can regard Gaziantep and Aleppo, Mardin and al-Hasakah, or Siirt and Mosul as places that have nothing to do with each other? You see something from us in any Middle Eastern and North African country you stop by between Hatay and Morocco. You definitely come across a trace from our ancestors at every step you take along the geography extending from Thrace to Eastern Europe.”
“WE ARE PRESENT IN THE HISTORY OF MOSUL”
Also touching on the issue of Mosul, President Erdoğan continued: “Can we leave Mosul on its own? We are present in the history of Mosul. And what is it they are doing now? They are plotting to grab Mosul from the people of Mosul and offer it to others. But we insist that in Mosul should live the people of Mosul. Who lives in Mosul? Mostly our Arab brothers and sisters. In addition to that, Turkmens, and a very small number of Kurds. They co-exist in Mosul. But DAESH elements have infiltrated the city and now there is an ongoing fight against the DAESH. Unfortunately, coalition powers say, ‘Turkey should get permission from the central government to take part in the anti-DAESH fight.’ And in response, I say to the head of the coalition, ‘Excuse us, but that Central Government came to me and asked us to set up the Bashiqa base.’ They also talked with then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. And then we established the Bashiqa base. Now we are present at the Bashiqa base. What do they say now? They say, ‘Turkey should withdraw from Bashiqa.’ With all due respect, we don’t have any intention to withdraw from Bashiqa. We are there until the Mosul issue is resolved. The same goes for Tal Afar. There is a population of about 400 thousand. They are all Turkmens, half of them Sunni and the other half Shia. Our presence will continue until peace is established there. Everybody should know this. We are trying to do everything through diplomacy. In this regard, our Foreign Minister is in Lausanne today along with other counterparts from the U.S., Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc. I hope they achieve a breakthrough.”
“TURKEY CAN’T TURN ITS BACK ON ALEPPO”
President Erdoğan added: “Turkey cannot turn its back on Aleppo. Turkey cannot disregard its kinsmen in Western Thrace, Cyprus, Crimea and anywhere else. We cannot leave Libya, Egypt, Bosnia and Afghanistan alone with their own problems. Otherwise, we feel embarrassed before both the history and our brothers living there, their hearts beating with us. Therefore, I always say that we deem our own both the happiness and unhappiness of our brothers living within the boundaries of our heart. Those mistaking that interest of ours for their colonialist histories or for their sectarian and ethnic obsessions should first question themselves rather than giving advice to us. It shouldn’t be forgotten that this nation has the noble-heartedness of Yunus Emre as much as it harbours the bravery of Yavuz Sultan Selim and the diplomatic genius of Abdul Hamit Khan.”
Following his speech, Rector Hüseyin Karaman presented the President with a calligraphy plaque in memory of the day.