President Erdoğan: Turkey’s rise drives the West crazy

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the "31st Mukhtars (local administrators) meeting" at Presidential Complex in Ankara on December 7, 2016. ADEM ALTAN / AFP

Amid growing criticism of Turkey from Western institutions over serious human rights violations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed that the West is disturbed by Turkey’s growth despite the historic loss in value of the Turkish lira and his call for citizens to sell of foreign currency.

“The West is going mad! How could Turkey become this strong?“ Erdoğan said İstanbul on Saturday during an opening ceremony in Esenler, which is a poor and conservative district and a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) stronghold. In Turkey the president is supposed to be impartial, but Erdoğan has been criticized for acting like the de facto head of his former party as he campaigns for a switch to an executive presidency.

According to Erdoğan, on the night of a failed coup on July 15, the nation saw that anything could be done to prevent Turkey’s growth, including an armed revolt.

Reiterating his desire to reinstate the death penalty, which was abolished in 2004 as part of European Union reforms, Erdoğan said he would approve legislation to that effect if Parliament responds positively to the wishes of the people.

“I do not care what the West says,” Erdoğan said, challenging criticism from the EU.

Introduction of capital punishment contravenes EU membership criteria and could suspend Turkey’s accession talks with the bloc.

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