President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey has been going through a hard test as it is “being targeted by the most murderous terrorist organizations in the world,” following the tragic İstanbul airport attack that claimed 41 lives and injured over 200.
Erdoğan spoke after the iftar dinner held for the personnel at the presidential palace on Wednesday night. Erdoğan said that a majority of the injured have been released from hospital, while around 100 people are still receiving treatment.
“It is obvious that these terror acts intend to corner Turkey and force it to compromise. In our battle against terrorism, we have lost members of security forces and civilians and we are still losing people. We will have other losses, as well, in this battle,” Erdoğan said.
The president also referred to the Turkish military operations against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern provinces and said “Some still assert that our operations target civilians. Is that really the case? Last night is the biggest proof on who martyr our civilians. They are trying to portray our soldiers and police as criminals. Nobody will buy this,” Erdoğan said.
The president stated that Turkey is determined to beat terrorist organizations.
Erdoğan also reiterated that he will pursue his ongoing combat against the Gülen movement. “They had infiltrated the presidential palace, as well. Perhaps they are still there. We are working on this. They can resign on their own will if they want, but they cannot smear this place, Erdoğan said.
Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, there have been many similar police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.
Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.