TURKEY

President Erdoğan slams the West for not returning the militants of PKK and FETO

PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN SLAMS THE WEST FOR NOT RETURNING THE MILITANTS OF PKK AND FETO

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the parliamentary group of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party on Tuesday

Turkey's president and ruling party chairman said Tuesday that the Justice and Development (AK) Party puts the will of the people first.

Speaking at the party's parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touted the success of the party, and added, "The AK Party is democratic and always prioritizes the will of the people."

The address was Erdoğan's first to the parliamentary group since retaking the party reigns at an extraordinary congress earlier this month.

For nearly three years prior, as president he was barred from leading the party, but constitutional changes ratified in a public referendum last month ended that prohibition.

Erdoğan told the assembled deputies that no other party comes close to competing with the AK Party in terms of investment and projects.

Outlining the party's projects and future plans, he said, "We have started on another project which targets 2035 and is expected to lay the groundwork for our 2053 vision."

As part of Turkey's vision for 2023, which marks the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, the country has set specific goals and targets that include major improvements in the economy, energy, health care, and transportation.

Projects ahead of 2023 include Istanbul's third international airport and the third bridge over the Bosphorus.

READY FOR 2019 ELECTIONS
He added that through the end of this year the party would review and update all provincial and district organizations to be ready for the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.

"We have to get rid of this fatigue" in the party structure, he added. ​

On the suspects being tried over alleged involvement in last July's defeated coup, Erdoğan warned that countries harboring suspects tried in absentia must send them back to Turkey.

"If you do not help in extraditing them, you should know that one day Turkey will not return yours to your countries if we have them," he explained.

Erdoğan led the AK Party for 13 years starting from its foundation in 2001 but had to step aside when he became president in August 2014, due to the legal requirement for presidents to be politically neutral.

When the party won the November 2002 election with two-thirds of the seats in parliament, it became the first party to win an outright majority in over a decade.

During his time as prime minister, Erdoğan oversaw general elections in 2007 and 2011 in which the party returned to power with a greater share of the vote each time.

The party also performed well in local elections in 2004, 2009, and 2014, when it secured 18 out of 30 mayoral seats in larger cities.

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