Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his government is committed to overcoming obstacles to Turkey's democratization and prosperity bid created by certain groups which he called “intriguers.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader was speaking during the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) general council meeting on Saturday in İstanbul. “We have fought against the coup plotters, mafia, and various gangs with the support of Turkish people behind us so far and we will continue this righteous fight so long as our citizens want us to do so,” Erdoğan asserted in his address to thousands of businesspeople at the summit. Erdoğan touted the efforts of hardworking businesspeople from TUSKON, thanking them for contributions to the Turkish economy's development. “Today you are part of a very large confederation which is getting stronger every passing day.
…this is because you take your strength from Anatolian people who love their country,” he told TUSKON members. The prime minister’s remarks come after earlier speculations that suggested a conflict of interest between the government and a certain business group. Recent rumors alleged tension between the AK Party government and the faith-based Gülen movement, even claiming that each was ready to play their cards to eliminate the other. Observers argue that Erdoğan’s latest remarks ruled out the chance that government was having problems getting along with the group.
Drawing an analogy between the government’s success in earning public support to win the last three consecutive general elections and TUSKON’s plan to grow at home and spread its business network across the globe, Erdoğan said the AK Party government never bowed to demands of “dark powers.” “We have done our best to live up to our promises of a better Turkey in full solidarity with our people. We [the government] will maintain cooperation with those who work for the benefit of this country and we will not lend an ear to provocations,” Erdoğan stressed. Making mention of the recent plan for a new education system that puts more emphasis on vocational training in schools, Erdoğan said the Turkish business world suffered from a lack of qualified personnel (or intermediate workers) in the past. He said the country’s mandate of eight years of compulsory education was the result of the postmodern coup of Feb. ۲۸, ۱۹۹۷. Seeking to increase the current duration of compulsory education from an uninterrupted eight years to ۱۲ years, divided into three four-year stages, a bill -- popularly known as ۴+۴+۴ –- recently stoked tensions in Parliament, sparking heated discussions between the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the government. The law for the new system, however, passed in Parliament late on Thursday.
Meanwhile, President Abdullah Gül also sent a message to Saturday’s meeting, which was read to participants. “We are happy to see TUSKON maintain its strong commitment with its tireless efforts to contribute to Turkey’s bid to develop its economy and become a center of investment. I will continue advocating for such efforts in the future,” the message read.