In remarks that apparently came as confirmation of claims suggesting that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is aspiring to take everything in the country under his control, he has said he is the chief muhtar, or neighborhood head, controlling the entire country.
Erdoğan’s remarks came during one of his regular meetings with muhtars at the presidential palace in Ankara.
While explaining how his love for the nation played a role behind his success, Erdoğan said: “I owe my success to subjecting myself to the knowledge of my nation. I am the chief muhtar controlling all of Turkey. … I have seen this throughout my entire life, if we have taken one step, our nation has taken five steps.”
The president said those who act with arrogance and don’t get along well with the nation are bound to fail in politics.
“It is not enough to say sovereignty lies with the nation; you can be sovereign only if you subject yourself to the nation,” said Erdoğan.
The president has been attracting growing criticism for a widespread crackdown he launched in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that claimed the lives of 240 people and injured a thousand others. The Turkish government, which launched a post-coup purge, has so far detained 82,000 people and arrested 35,000 others over coup charges. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors, housewives and even a comedian.
Erdoğan is being accused of cracking down on dissent and violating the separation of powers in the country under the pretext of punishing coup plotters.
The president also strongly supports a switch to a presidential system in Turkey in which he will enjoy more executive powers because his post is largely ceremonial now.