PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYİP ERDOĞAN’S REMARKS DURING THE PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER THE CABINET MEETING
"I would like to greet wholeheartedly all citizens and people from every corner of the world whose hearts beat with Turkey.
Turkey has gone through the most critical day of its history on July 15. A group embedded in the Turkish Armed Forces attempted a coup out of the chain of command. This group, which is understood to be members of the Gulenist Terrorist Organization, launched an attack against the nation and the state with planes, helicopters, tanks and weapons. The Presidential Complex, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Prime Ministry, General Staff HQs, General Command of Gendarmerie HQs, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) compound, Bosporus Bridge and various military units were kept under heavy attack. My and the government’s decisive stance and the courageous stand of the nation against the coup attempters as well as the security forces’ effective intervention had foiled the coup attempt.
Our nation’s resolute defence of their country rendered the weapons, tanks,
helicopters and planes of the coup plotters useless. Our nation, who stood firm against terrorists dressed in military uniforms defended their motherland and future and thus wrote history throughout the night.
Every member of our nation, from every age and walk of life, banded together against the coup plotters. Our citizens, who stood firm against traitors, continued their resolute resistance against the coup attempt till the morning and many of our citizens, while lots of our brothers were being martyred before their very eyes, exerted strenuous efforts to save those martyrs despite their own wounds. Thanks be to Allah, any person who feels himself/herself a son and a daughter of this motherland and as a member of this nation stood against the coup attempt.
Our nation is still suffering the pain of having failed to protect Menderes and his friends in 1960 coup, and the pain of once again having failed to protect the young – who were hanged with the understanding ‘one from the right and one from the left’ – in 1980 coup. The date of 15 July 2016 became a turning point when the nation said ‘stop’ to this evil course of events. An armed coup attempt has been thwarted by the nation for the first time in the history of our country.
Turkey has proved its commitment to democracy and rule of law at the cost of its citizens’ lives. The gunfire opened by the coup attempters killed 246 innocent people, among whom were civilians, police officers and soldiers, and wounded 1536 innocent citizens.
I wish Allah’s mercy upon the martyrs and a speedy recovery to the wounded as well as extending condolences to the martyrs’ relatives and the whole nation.
As the head of the people, I am proud of my people without making any discrimination between political parties. The people wrote a history of democracy by overcoming all obstacles.
Starting from the moment we were first informed about the coup attempt, we worked very closely with our august citizens, Prime Minister, ministers, National Police Force and anti-coup commanders of the Armed Forces. Despite all dangers and threats, we immediately headed to Istanbul and displayed a staunch stand together with our nation against the coup
plotters. The coup attempt was quelled before the evening of the following day thanks to the sagacity and determination of our nation.
We convened first the meeting of the National Security Council and then the meeting of the Council of Ministers today. Following the comprehensive evaluation we made as the members of the National Security Council, we decided to recommend the Government to declare state of emergency under Article 120 of the Constitution with an aim to totally and swiftly eliminate the terrorist organization, which attempted a coup, together with all its elements. The Council of Ministers, in line with this recommendation, decided to declare state of emergency in Turkey for a duration of 3 months.
As is known, Article 120 of the Constitution authorizes the declaration of state of emergency in case of acts of violence aimed at abolishing democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms in the country. The state of emergency has been declared with an aim to be able to take swift and effective steps required to eliminate this threat against our democracy, rule of law and the rights and freedoms of our citizens.
The coup attempt showed us those committed to democracy and state of law at the risk of their lives as well as those aspiring for dictatorship. Our government, political parties, non-governmental organizations, command echelon of the Turkish Armed Forces and, most importantly, our nation have demonstrated their commitment to democracy.
On this occasion, I would like to extend my gratitude to all citizens who poured onto the streets and squares and voiced their support for the state and Government since July 15.
We bid farewell to some of our fellow friends that we worked side by side for years. We saw a 32-year-old lady risking her life without hesitation by lying in front of the tank. These terrorists are as dishonourable and brute as to plough over a woman by a tank. Yet they failed to stop our citizens. Our citizens, who kept their ground despite being aimed and shot, have proven to be the grandchildren of the heroes of the Independence War.
I cannot find the words to describe the heroism of citizens who refused to leave the streets to terrorists in military uniforms despite the fighter jets and helicopters flying ahead and dropping bombs, and despite being targeted by heavy weapons.
All of our citizens who have been keeping a democracy watch for days in the squares across Turkey in order to prevent a second attempt have put their stamp on history. It is 4 p.m. today and citizens started marching towards Kızılay square in Ankara. Thousands have already taken to the squares in Konya province. I will soon be addressing them via teleconference.
The self-sacrifice of our police, particularly those at the Special Operations Department in the Gölbaşı district of Ankara and at the Ankara Security Directorate, who rushed to their duties without hesitation despite heavy attacks of the coup plotters, is above any praise.
In a similar vein, our people will never forget the steadfast stand of our soldiers who firmly stood against the minority group that attempted the coup within the Turkish Armed Forces.
I would like to commemorate our martyr who shot on the forehead the putschist commander claiming that he had the command. May he rest in peace.
I would like to congratulate the directors of institutions particularly governor’s offices and municipalities for standing on the side of the state and nation with all their means from the moment they learned about the coup attempt.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all media institutions and non-governmental organizations who sided with national will against the coup attempt.
The unity of the state and nation against the July 15 coup attempt was the strongest in Turkish history. Our nation and state embraced each other.
Our citizens and institutions should not have the slightest concern with regards to democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms. The purpose of the state of emergency declared by our government is to protect those values. Those who did not say a word to European countries that have taken similar measures after terrorist attacks have no right to criticize Turkey. We just want other countries to stand out of our way. This nation is capable of determining its fate.
The declaration of the state of emergency is strictly a measure against the threat of terror facing our country, and the protection of democracy, state of law, fundamental rights and freedoms.
Especially the foreign and local elements within the economy should not have the slightest negative reservations regarding the state of emergency. S&P decreased Turkey's foreign currency rating to BB from BB-plus with negative outlook. What is your relation with Turkey? Turkey is not a member currently. You have done this before and we said we do not have anything to do with this and halted our relations. They are making a political statement, in their own way trying to test whether with this statement will stop investment in Turkey or not. S&P, do not try in vain, especially not with us, you acted the same way and it did not work before and it will not work today. You will see how we will continue our investments with determination. We have opened the Osmangazi Bridge, we will open Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge on the August 26 and hopefully on December 20, we will open the Eurasia Tunnel under the Bosporus. You would not be able to cope with any of our investments to unveil or go through, we will continue to do so.
The rating issued does not reflect the reality about the Turkish economy. They watch for this type of moments. Tomorrow they might even release many viruses to the market, and tend to take such different steps.
Let me clearly say that in this process, Turkey will continue economic reforms without interruption, particularly as regards to the incentives aimed at increasing the savings. Our Central Bank made quite clear and informative statements. I am of the belief that it will keep doing so. Our markets have no shortage of liquidity, neither will there be. The sensitivity regarding the functioning of markets in line with its own internal rules will be maintained within the framework of the currently followed rational economic policies. As I always repeat, we continue our march without making any concessions on our fiscal discipline.
I hope that the decisions we have taken today at the National Security Council meeting and the ensuing Council of Ministers meetings will be beneficial.
I would like to call out to my people who ask; alas, a state of emergency is declared now, will the governors be cut-out and the Armed Forces seize the power in this period? Something like this is out of the question. On the contrary the authority and will of our governors will increase further during this period and our Armed Forces will continue working for the governors during this time. Let it be known that, we have never compromised democracy and we shall not compromise it ever. Our Armed Forces are definitely at the disposal of the Government and acting together with the Government.
And as the mandatory provision of our constitution I, as the elected President and Commander in Chief, together with our military, will continue our fight to purge all those viruses within our Armed Forces. As you can see, the fight to purge other institutions, the police and others from such viruses continues and it will continue single-mindedly because it has spread like cancer so-to-speak, we must and hopefully will clean this virus so that our people can find peace and continue to look to the future with hope.
I would like to remind my people: Do not have any concerns; there is no cause for concern. Thank God Turkey has overcome this crisis and will continue this period by growing stronger with its investments.
I would like to wholeheartedly extend my gratitude and may God bless all of you."