President Abdullah Gül used the Feb. 12 ceremony for the opening of a new metro line in Ankara as an opportunity to deliver a message of “unity for the sake of the country.”
Gül’s remarks come at a time when the political turmoil caused by the fight between the government and the movement of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen have been fueling concerns about instability in Turkey.
“Serenity, stability and peace are necessary for a country to carry out projects that it can be proud of, such as the new Ankara metro line and the Marmaray underwater tunnel project that was opened in Istanbul two months ago,” he stressed.
“Otherwise, we would be wasting our energy on unnecessary rumors. In order to serve the people, turning our energies into synergy is a must for stability and serenity,” Gül added.
“Doubtless, there is pluralism in democracies. Doubtless, there are different opinions in democracies, but competition for all of these [opinions] in a civilized way is also a must for democracy. Nobody should doubt that more new services will be added to those that have already been granted through this 10-year period when we have protected stability in our country and haven’t been involved in unnecessary rumors and fights,” he said, in a reference to the rule of the current Justice and Development Party (AKP) since 2002. Before being elected to his current post in 2007, Gül had been the foreign minister of the same government.
Also delivering a speech at the ceremony, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan again resorted to the metaphor of “New Turkey’s War of Independence,” referring to the War of Independence that led to the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in the early 20th century.
“At the moment, they are trying to slow us down, but they will not be able to slow us down. I believe we are superior because we believe and we will succeed in this. Inshallah [God willing], I believe Ankara, which executed and administrated the War of Independence, will also govern the war of independence of the ‘New Turkey’ in an extremely beautiful and successful way,” Erdoğan said.
Ankara, the capital city since the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, hosted the first national assembly that managed the War of Independence and laid the ground for the proclamation of the republic.
As well as Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek and several Cabinet members including deputy prime ministers, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also attend the ceremony for the opening of the Batıkent-Sincan line, which was constructed by the Spanish company Comsa Emte in partnership with a Turkish company.