Fearing backlash over economy, Turkish minister says not the time to teach a lesson

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Süleyman Soylu

Worrying about a public backlash to a deteriorating economy, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the upcoming local elections should not be intended to give a lesson to the ruling party, asking for strong support for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in order to “make enemies crazy.”

If the AKP loses the elections, governors and local authorities in predominantly Kurdish cities will not even be able to walk in the streets, he added, referring to the “danger” that outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants might target those officials.

“They will put stones in the hands of little children [to throw at public servants in the streets],” Soylu added during a rally in Zonguldak province.

After the local elections on March 31, there will be no nationwide election on Turkey’s agenda for four-and-a-half years.

“These four-and-a-half years will be a time during which Turkey will leap forward. We will make sound improvements in the economy. We will bring peace and calm to this region, eliminating terrorism,” Soylu added. “Please don’t make us weaker.”

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