President Erdoğan Hits at HDP Mayors
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayors of the southeastern provinces of Batman and Diyarbakır for not greeting him at the airport when he arrived in the area on May 2.
Speaking at an event gathering people from the Black Sea province of Rize, where Erdoğan is from, he said: “I experienced an incident yesterday [May 2]. I was in Batman and Diyarbakır. They first said the mayors would come and welcome me at the airport. I told them, ‘I too will go to the municipalities and visit them.’ At the last moment they said ‘an order has come.’ What order? From the mountains of Kandil [where outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is stationed in northern Iraq] or from the headquarters,” said Erdoğan, adding that the HDP mayors had decided not to greet him as they accused him of engaging in politics.
“They are right when it comes to me being a side. I am siding with the nation. They should know this,” said Erdoğan.
Batman Mayor Sabri Özdemir and Diyarbakır co-mayors Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı did not show up at their cities’ airports to greet him on his arrival on May 2. This was Erdoğan’s first visit to the cities as president.
“I thought I can pay a visit to the governor’s office and the mayor’s office, but the mayor of Batman did not show the courtesy of greeting me at the airport,” Erdoğan said during a speech in Batman at the inauguration of public facilities in the province. “Now, as the president, is it right for me to visit the mayor despite their impoliteness?”
Erdoğan’s speech in Batman was marred by a protest of about 30 workers, who started to shout protest slogans while he was speaking.
“Don’t be ungrateful. You have a job. So don’t show ingratitude,” Erdoğan said in response to the protest organized by subcontracted public workers who demanded to be listed as permanent public servants.
Stating that newspapers published headlines that were crying of joy when he was imprisoned back in the 1990s, Erdoğan said this attitude was still continuing.
“They are attacking me, who became the president by gaining 52 percent of the votes, the government that rules the country with 50 percent of the votes and its staff with a rage that does not fade away,” said Erdoğan.
“If they ask them they are impartial, they act objectively,” he said, adding that this was not true and that the people who attacked him were looking at Turkey and the world with ideological obsessions.
“They do not have a problem with us; they have a problem with our nations’ history, culture, values and beliefs,” he said.