Shutting down Turkey’s state-run aid agency, as an opposition presidential candidate has vowed to do, would hurt the nation’s heritage but please terrorists, said Turkey’s prime minister on Friday.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince has said that if elected, he would shutter the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
“Muharrem Ince is saying ‘I will shut down TIKA.’ TIKA is the foundation that FETO [the Fetullah Terror Organization] hates the most,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told a campaign rally of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the eastern Elazig province.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
“What is TIKA doing? It revives and repairs our historic and cultural heritage. Don’t you have any respect for your history and past?” Yildirim asked.
Stating that TIKA operates in 25 countries, helps the needy, and promotes Turkey, he added: “Don’t worry. These people won’t allow this [TIKA to be shut down].”
Saying that the opposition has no projects to carry Turkey to the future, he added, “It is easy to demolish existing ones [projects].”
Ince has also declared his opposition to the ruling AK Party’s mega projects such as Canal Istanbul, designed to cut traffic through the Turkish Straits and reduce the chance of an accident.
Turkey will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
For the first time in Turkish political history, political parties will go to the election after forming alliances.
Turkey’s ruling AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will enter the race as the People’s Alliance.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), newly formed Good (IYI) Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, and Democrat Party (DP) will participate as the Nation Alliance.