TURKEY

Our duty is to protect Turkish state, Deputy PM Bozdağ says

OUR DUTY IS TO PROTECT TURKISH STATE, DEPUTY PM BOZDAĞ SAYS

The Turkish republic, its official language, capital, national anthem and identity of the state have been clearly laid down in our constitution and represent the values of Turks, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Monday.

Bozdağ's remarks came following statements by a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member who said Turkey was forming a new state headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

"Now we are founding a new state. Whether you like it or not, this new state's founding leader is Tayyip Erdogan," Ayhan Ogan told private news channel CNNTURK last week.

Speaking at a news conference at THE general directorate of the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) in capital Ankara, the deputy premier distanced the government and the ruling party from Ogan's televised comments.

Bozdağ said the key features of the Turkish republic, its official language, capital, national anthem and identity of the state "are not only in our constitution but also represent the common values of 80 million [Turkish citizens]".

He said the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party continues to adhere to these core principles.

"Our president's opinions are very clear: 'One nation, one country, one government, one flag'.

"After our president became the head of AK Party, these principles were also added to the AK Party's bylaws," Bozdağ said, adding the AK Party was the only political party that added these principles to its bylaw.

"We have a state and its name is the Turkish state. Our duty is to protect and sustain the Turkish state and to develop and strengthen it in every field."

Referring to last month's Ankara to Istanbul rally of Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Bozdağ said the main opposition party chief "is setting ground to run for president in the 2019 presidential elections".

"This rally was the first step for the announcement of his candidacy. He sends message to the conservative section and other groups of societies [by holding this rally].

"It was definitely not a 'Justice March', it was a [presidential] candidacy march," he said.

Kılıçdaroğlu's July 9 in Istanbul's Maltepe district came on the final day of a 450- kilometer (280-mile) march from Ankara to Istanbul that was organized in protest after a court jailed one of his fellow party lawmakers, Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Berberoğlu was convicted of revealing state secrets for leaking confidential pictures to the Cumhuriyet newspaper concerning the search of National Intelligence Organization (MIT) trucks en route to Syria in January 2014.

About Kılıçdaroğlu's interview with German weekly Focus, Bozdağ said it was "dropping bombs on Turkish tourism and economy".

He accused the CHP leader of giving "false testimony" and paving the way for misperceptions against Turkey. "We can not accept this," he said.

In the interview, Kılıçdaroğlu said: "In Turkey, there is currently no security guarantee for anyone, neither for life nor for property," and added that it was not safe for Germans to travel to Turkey.

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