* Photograph: Emrah Yorulmaz - İstanbul / AA
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President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the "Fast-Breaking Meal with Internal Security Units" in Eurosia Performance and Art Center in İstanbul last evening (May 16).
In his speech, Erdoğan criticized Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) High Advisory Board Chair Tuncay Özilhan, who said in his speech on May 15, "If it is ensured that democracy operates, rule of law prevails and an education reform paving the way for critical thinking is introduced, our economy will also perform better."
Speaking at the fast-breaking meal, which was also attended by Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu and members of security units, Erdoğan addressed the TÜSİAD in following words:
"I also know how was your situation 17 years ago. I know your current situation as well. If necessary, I will also reveal them."
In another speech of his, Erdoğan again criticized the TÜSİAD, which defined the rerun of İstanbul Metropolitan Mayoral elections as "worrying" and said, "You are in the wrong. Everyone should know their place first."
Referring to the March 31 Local Elections in his opening speech, TÜSİAD High Advisory Board Chair Tuncay Özilhan said, "Election marathons consuming our whole energy for years have worn us all out" and added:
"When we talk about democracy, we also say independence of the judiciary, the rule of law, human rights, academic freedoms, meritocracy and freedom of expression. We will continue referring to them as well. Because, the TÜSİAD's code of conduct gives us this duty.
"The transition from the Parliamentary system to the Presidential one does not seem to be completed yet. The institutional structure of the Presidential system could not be established. Apparently, the political tension will continue with the annulment of İstanbul elections."
President and AKP Chair Erdoğan said the following in response:
"About what TÜSİAD High Advisory Board Chair Tuncay Özilhan said... I wouldn't want to announce it like that.
"I sadly listened to his speech that abounded with intolerance for democracy and resorted to trick of statistics to slander Turkey.
"Such statistics are usually the products of those circles which we know that never approach our country in a just manner. In spite of this, similar statistics show that there are several fields where Turkey ranks really good.
"For instance, when it comes to ease of doing business, Turkey now ranks 43rd among 190 countries by a leap of 17 rankings. He doesn't see it.
"In the economic freedoms index, we rank 68th among 180 countries. He doesn't see it. In fact, this person tries to hit us by referring to statistics where our country ranks in 110s or 120s.
"How much was the per capita income of Turkey 17 years ago? How much is it today? Where were you economically back then? Where are you now?
"I also know how was your situation 17 years ago. I know your current situation as well. If necessary, I will also reveal them.
"Just so you know... There are the ones trying to hit Turkey from outside. But I know how to call the ones trying to hit Turkey from inside to account." (AS/SD)