H.E. President Abdullah Gül’s Address on the Occasion of the Commencement of the New Legislative Year of the TBMM

Yazdır Paylaş Yazıları Büyült Yazıları Küçült

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

It is my pleasure to address you, the distinguished Members of Parliament, on the occasion of the commencement of the 4th Legislative Year of the 24th Term of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. I extend my warmest greetings to all of you.

I take the floor at the beginning of each legislative year to share with you my views on the issues that closely concern our country.

Six years ago, I was sitting in your seats as a Member of Parliament. It is the Grand National Assembly, which you are a member of, that elected me as President.

The Grand National Assembly, the house of our liberation, our foundation and our democracy, stands as the ultimate guarantor of our independence and future.

Over the past six years of my term in office, I have always felt the honor and pride of being the 11th President elected by this august Assembly. While fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities on the one hand, I also closely observed the work carried out by the Turkish Grand National Assembly as the true body representing our sovereignty.

I wish to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to our Esteemed Political Parties and all Members of Parliament for their intensive efforts to advance our democracy and keep its dynamics vibrant.

Over this period of time, I showed utmost effort to exercise the powers and responsibilities invested in me by the Constitution within the scope of democratic practices, the rule of law, public conscience and by taking into consideration the sensitivities of our people.

I left the challenges and the debate surrounding my election in 2007 that ill-matched democratic maturity behind in order to concentrate on Turkey's normalization.

I supported the determination of our Parliament and our people to eliminate submission to covert acts of tutelage which cast a shadow on the will of the people and endangered our political environment from time to time.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

In pluralistic democracies, political parties compete with each other and challenge each other; but ultimately it is the country that wins. Turkey has always won and will win out of your democratic competition.

We have only to cast our eyes across our borders to appreciate how valuable these achievements are.

As someone who comes from an active political life having served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have always had faith in the outcome of elections and in the virtue and dignity of the ballot box.

I never ceased to believe, even at times when democratic practices were challenged or trampled upon, that the will of our people would sooner or later manifest itself at the ballot box and in the administration of the country.

I have always acted with the awareness that democracy requires tolerance, patience, perseverance and sacrifice.

I was also mindful of the fact that democracy is a system of checks and balances.

I defended, at every opportunity, the realization of democratic reforms in a way that broadens participatory and pluralistic democracy and extends freedoms.

Therefore, despite numerous tragedies around us affecting fundamental human rights and democratic values, I have never lost faith that democracy and the rule of law will eventually prevail in our region.

In the current environment, I am of the opinion that the most meaningful contribution we can make to the brotherly peoples who have turned their faces with hope to Turkey is to keep Turkish democracy sound and strong.

The most significant element of our 200-year-old constitutional tradition and democracy is elections carried out under judicial assurance. It is, in other words, the ballot box.

Turkey will be holding three important elections in less than two years. The ballot box will be placed before our people for them to make their free choice.

I have no doubt that the elections will be held as a democratic celebration and, as always, the will of the people will be respected by everyone and the winners of the elections will represent all of our people.

Elections are the fundamental principle of democracy and the polarization that we sometimes witness in times of elections does not benefit the political parties or the country.

Polarization in political debates in our country sometimes extends beyond politics, which may upset identities and beliefs and cause sensitivities.

Such polarization obviously has the potential to harm the social cohesion of our people.

Therefore, we cannot view every issue and every debate in terms of "black or white", "right or wrong", "justified or unjustified", "us and them" or "friend or foe."

In fact, viable solutions for social issues can usually be found in the grey areas, on the middle ground and by way of compromise. This is because people are inherently not disposed to being cast in molds or in camps; be burdened with preconceived notions and prejudice; or be otherized.

In fact, countries that steer away from such polarization are the ones that are able to normalize. Reforms become permanent and take root only when they are implemented without polarization.

It is for this reason that we must avoid polarization and stand up for the values and virtues of our democracy as society. Let us all be awake to dangers that threaten democracy.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

A country's development, progress, social peace, prosperity and happiness are possible under the roof of democracy.

Democracy, however, is not a static system; it is a living form of administration that develops and adapts to change.

In recent years, many deep-rooted reforms that may be characterized as a “silent revolution” have been enacted for the purpose of raising our democratic standards.

The opposition has also made its contribution to this process as well as the ruling party.

This spirit of reform was met with admiration in both the East and the West and there is merit in maintaining this process today. This spirit of reform is essential to extend rights and freedoms and further facilitate and improve the process of governing the country.

In this framework, I would like to state that I welcome the new steps announced by the Prime Minister yesterday, which will, in my opinion, solve important issues in our country.

The democratic expectations and demands of a young, dynamic and rapidly urbanizing country like Turkey are boundless and constant.

With this understanding, I viewed the peaceful demonstrations of the young people at Gezi Park, who showed their environmental sensitivity and concerns about the aesthetics of the urban environment, as a new manifestation of our democratic maturity.

There was nothing to be concerned about in this instance with respect to the voicing of concerns and demands that are similar to those expressed in developed democracies, especially considering that our country was affiliated in the past with practices of extra-judicial executions, torture and serious violations of human rights.

It was for this reason that both I and government officials expressed our acknowledgment immediately after the demonstrations that the "well-intentioned messages" had been taken.

However, some extremist groups attempted to exploit these peaceful demonstrations by using violence and getting involved in acts of vandalism. In time, these demonstrations initiated in goodwill gained an improper character resulting in the disturbance of public order.

As a result, regrettable events that damaged our country's perception took place and unfortunately six of our citizens including one police officer lost their lives.

May Allah rest their souls in peace, I salute the memory of all of our citizens who died during these demonstrations and events and extend my condolences to their bereaved families.

All legal violations, particularly the excessive use of force, witnessed in this process from time to time are investigated and necessary legal action is being taken.

As a nation, we should learn from these events and try to understand the sentiments of the younger generation in particular through detailed sociological studies.

Different ideas and objections may be lawfully and legitimately raised in democracies without resorting to violence. In this way, the attention of the authorities and the general public may be called on the issues at hand.

On the other hand, protests and demonstrations should not hinder the usual course of life in society or harm the rights and freedoms of other citizens.

Through violence no democratic messages and demands can be manifested or heeded. Authorities have to perform their duties in the event of illegal disturbance to public order.

We must now leave these events behind and look ahead by making use of this experience to strengthen the participatory and pluralistic qualities of our democracy.

Let us not forget that it is our differences that constitute the colors and patterns of our national fabric. In essence, these colors and patterns together make up "our nation".

Therefore, respecting all identities, beliefs and lifestyles and finding solutions to everyone's problems are indispensable parts of social peace.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

The separation of powers, a free press, and an effective opposition are also among the indispensable elements of democracy.

The effective and efficient operation of executive, legislative and judicial powers; the existence of a serious, constructive and strong opposition; a free, critical, impartial and independent media are of utmost importance for a country's democratic development. The presence of a media that has the will to exercise its freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the laws adds strength to our democracy.

As I said from this rostrum last year, fixing all shortcomings and inappropriate practices in this context will be to the benefit of the whole country. There is not a single country in the world today that has regressed or stood in harm’s way by allowing the broadest exercise of democratic rights and freedoms.

For this reason, ensuring the prevalence of the highest democratic standards should be a fundamental priority for Turkey as a country in a prestigious position in its region with a functioning democracy.

On the other hand, it will not be possible to speak of a truly mature democracy -irrespective of the good functioning of constitutional institutions and safeguards - if the democratic culture is not intrinsically a part of the political and social order.

It is important for all of our political parties to work to develop our democratic culture for a better future in our country.

One of the most critical actors in the development of a democratic culture is undoubtedly the media. Therefore, it is important that the media, too, fulfills its own responsibility constructively.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

I have always believed that the Kurdish issue in our country, which is the product of a long history of neglect and democratic deficiencies, can be resolved within the framework of democracy.

In this context, I either led or supported all reforms in this direction. I always believed that such efforts should not be driven politically, but exerted to ensure our nation’s existence into perpetuity.

I have always expressed my opinion that we have the confidence to resolve our own issues as a nation. In my opinion, the most honorable duty of our state and government is to meet the demands of our people for rights, justice and broader freedoms and to eliminate unconscionable wrongs. I believe that the honor and credit of solving these issues in such a fashion will belong to our state and nation.

At present, our government continues to pursue the process for a solution in good faith and with courage.

The peaceful environment as a result of these efforts has raised hopes for peace, calm and prosperity in our people. During my trips to Anatolia, I personally witnessed the excitement of the people in various regions of Turkey.

The steps needed to make the present atmosphere of peace permanent and crown the process as a "peace of brothers" must be taken prudently and with determination.

This for sure cannot be a bargaining process. The essence as well as the solution of the issue lies with the raising of our democratic standards even further.

Reinforcing our national unity and solidarity is possible only when all of our citizens firmly and equally believe in and claim ownership of our future.

Such democratic ownership and progress cannot be achieved through threats or violence. The people of a country like Turkey with a well-established state tradition certainly know how to behave in face of such threats.

Therefore, everyone must act with a sense of responsibility and contribute to well-intentioned efforts.

The tragedies unraveling in neighboring areas have shown the importance of a sense of ownership for our country, our democracy, national unity and integrity.

As the country that the people in the region look to with hope, Turkey should not extinguish its own “opportunity and hope for peace”.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

You will probably remember the pessimistic assessment I referred to with respect to global and regional developments from this rostrum last year.

We are, unfortunately, confronted with an even more negative, fragile and pessimistic situation today.

The loss of lives in Syria expressed in the thousands last year, exceeded a hundred thousand this year. Chemical weapons were used to slaughter masses and almost half of Syria's population has become refugees.

The civil war in Syria, ablaze along the fault lines of ethnicity, religion, sects and ideologies, constitutes a risk and a threat for the whole region.

Furthermore, as the most important country of the Arab world, Egypt’s democratic experience which began with great hope has met with failure.

In addition, terror and waves of violence, which has been ongoing in neighboring Iraq for the past 10 years, have claimed 1.500 lives only in the holy month of Ramadan recently.

To this must be added the ongoing large and small conflicts, acts of terror, poverty and social unrest in many other parts of the world.

As you know, I was in New York last week for the UN General Assembly, where I had numerous meetings. The attitude of the international community in the face of the calamities I have summarized here is also disheartening.

Despite the great sense of optimism at the beginning of the 21st century, humanity in its first 13 years faces tragedies that are unbefitting to a new century.

Chemical weapons prohibited almost a century ago are being used; sectarian strife similar to what was experienced in the Christian world in the Middle Ages is, unfortunately, the case in our region between Muslims.

Ideological competition and proxy wars, which we thought we had left behind in the Cold War era, are staged in a similar way in Syria today. Radicalism and extremism are growing globally.

The process of democratic transformation that will reinforce the ties of legitimacy between those in government and the governed in the Arab world has entered a painful period.

This global and regional outlook, naturally and perhaps most significantly, forces our country to make some difficult foreign policy choices.

Despite this negative outlook, with its functioning democracy and developing economy our country continues to be an island of stability and hope in the region.

In this context, I believe that the fundamental priority in our foreign policy is to maintain our position as a soft and virtuous power and protect our achievements thus far.

Only in this way can Turkey contribute to the democratic change and transformation in the region.

Specifying our priorities accordingly is necessary in light of our responsibility vis-a-vis our people and the high interests of our country.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

The civil war taking place in neighboring Syria is, doubtlessly, our country's most serious foreign policy issue at this time.

Syria continues to consume itself. The use of chemical weapons introduced a new dimension to the civil war as well.

An interim solution was reached at the United Nations stipulating the assumption of international control over Syria’s chemical weapons and their subsequent elimination.

On this point, I would like to say that Turkey would be pleased to see the destruction of the whole chemical arsenal in Syria in a verifiable manner in the shortest time possible.

It is my hope that this process initiated for the purpose of eliminating chemical weapons in Syria will be the first step for a new security architecture that will pave the way to eventually free the entire Middle East of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

However, steps taken with regard to chemical weapons should not detract us from the magnitude of the human tragedy in Syria. The bloodshed and violence in the country must be stopped.

This is about the biggest massacre of the 21st century where more than one hundred thousand people have died. If this brutal civil war is not stopped, I fear that we will all see casualty numbers multiply next year.

Continued inaction on the part of the international community in the face of this situation that defies human dignity and conscience is unacceptable. The survival of the Syrian people should not be sacrificed to balance-of-power politics, Cold War style proxy wars and narrow interests.

Civil war is the most merciless of wars. As these conflicts drag out, radicalism and extremism take root establishing their own infrastructure and threatening not only the country suffering from civil war, but also regional and global stability. Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq have been cases in point.

On this note, I would like to condemn any act that, irrespective of its justification and source, brutally massacres innocent people.

There is no doubt that one of the priorities of our national security policy must be to protect our country from the dangers that flourish next door.

Another major problem resulting from the civil war in Syria for neighboring countries is the issue of refugees.

Embracing the people who have fled from conflict and attacks in Syria to take refuge in our country in their time of need is a humanitarian duty proudly undertaken by the Turkish people. The entire world has witnessed the great sacrifice and care our country has shown in fulfilling its responsibility in this respect.

It is necessary for Syria to become governable and habitable as soon as possible in order for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in our country to maintain their ties to their country. Otherwise, this situation could be another striking example in the world of how this issue becomes a grave and lasting problem both for the host countries and for the refugees.

We must continue to work decisively with the international community for a comprehensive and well-planned political exit strategy in order to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people and to reestablish stability in the region.

Our ultimate goal should be building a new Syria that is at peace with its own people and its neighbors while keeping its territorial integrity and political unity intact. In this new Syria to be established after the period of transition, there should be no place for any persons that have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity.

I believe that the sincere efforts by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (P5) in collaboration with Syria's neighboring countries would have a decisive role in ending the human drama currently taking place in Syria.

I would like to preserve my hope that, sooner or later, the collective conscience of humanity will pave the way for an end to this brutality.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Turkish people who have been somehow negatively affected by this difficult period in Syria for their dignified response and common-sense approach.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

The developments in Egypt - a country which has been host to major civilizations - have always had significant repercussions both in the Arab world and in the Islamic world as a whole.

We believe that the future of Egypt lies in a system that manifests the free will of its people, the rule of constitutional legitimacy and the implementation of the fundamental principles of democracy.

In this context, we hope that our brothers in Egypt soon return to democracy and pick up from where they left off; that all political prisoners are released; and that the country heals itself by holding free and fair elections that includes all political movements.

Egypt and Turkey are two peoples and two countries on the shores of the Mediterranean that have been in constant interaction with each other throughout history. As the Turkish people, we sincerely hope to see Egypt as a powerful country with its people living prosperously in peace.

At the end of the day, the long-standing ties of brotherhood and friendship with the people and state of Egypt are strong enough to overcome the differences of opinion between us. We can make use of these strong ties to contribute to a return to democracy and normalization in Egypt and take our relations even further.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

During my contacts in New York, I had an opportunity to meet with President Rouhani who has initiated a new era in Iran. In our meeting, we agreed to develop our bilateral relations with this important neighboring county and reached a mutual understanding to strengthen our cooperation for solving various regional issues, particularly the Syrian crisis.

I hope that recent direct contacts between Iran and the United States shall contribute to regional peace.

Our relations with another neighbor, Iraq, are also very important. We always supported the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq which has been going through a critical period in the last 10 years. We have made every effort to contribute to the country's stability and reconstruction. We are sad to see the spiral of violence in Iraq in the last decade. In this context, we follow the increasing number of terrorist attacks recently targeting all parts of society in Iraq including on our Turcoman brothers with concern.

Iraq is currently one of Turkey's most important trade and economic partners. I do believe that the sensitivity that has recently emerged in our political relations will be overcome as soon as possible.

If the tremendous potential for Turkish-Iraqi cooperation is fully utilized, this will serve the common prosperity of our people and also contribute to peace and stability in the entire region.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

Another regional cooperation process we developed is the Strategic Dialogue mechanism initiated with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Our relations with the Gulf States gained great momentum on the basis of mutual respect and trust, bearing fruit in all areas. Many important trade, economic and military agreements have been signed with these countries. Moreover, the GCC countries and Turkey have taken similar positions on many regional issues and cooperated in joint initiatives.

Even though we may have temporary differences of opinion with the Gulf States on some current issues, it is our desire to maintain the mutual gains and further strengthen our relations.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

It is not possible to have lasting peace in the Middle East and the world without resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict which is the fundamental issue in the Middle East.

In this context, we hope that the recent peace talks shall result in lasting peace and a free and viable Palestinian State acceptable to all Palestinians based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

On the other hand, we believe that Israel’s policy to allow new settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, particularly East Jerusalem, is very dangerous and irreconcilable with the ongoing talks.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

In all of my speeches before the Parliament, I have always touched upon the importance of our relations with Europe and our Allies. I have stated that these relations are not only a preference with respect to foreign policy or a security alliance, but also a strategic orientation shaped by our historical experience as a nation. Today, these countries remain at the center of gravity of our economic, political, military and humanitarian relations in every respect.

There is no doubt that the main pillar of these relationships is our ties with the EU with whom we have been conducting membership negotiations.

In light of the present global and regional climate, a Turkey that keeps a strong foothold in the EU, can realize its major objectives and provide more effective support to its region and neighboring nations together with the EU. We are also aware of the role that the EU accession process has played in raising standards in many areas in Turkey.

On the other hand, the crisis experienced in the Euro Zone has made it clear that the EU must adopt a more flexible structure. We must closely monitor this restructuring process and base our strategies not on what the EU was 5 years ago, but what the EU will become in 5 years from now. We must give direction to our own policies now, so that we can establish Turkey’s place in the restructured EU.

Our consultations with the United States on regional issues are as important as our bilateral political, military, economic and scientific relations.

Moreover, relations with our NATO Allies conducted on the basis of shared values are ongoing with a spirit of solidarity.

In this context, I would like to thank our Allies, the governments of the United States of America, Germany and the Netherlands on behalf of the Turkish people, for their solidarity with Turkey by contributing to our air defense system in the face of the current crisis in Syria.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

The Cyprus issue, which has been ongoing for almost 50 years, must be resolved. The parameters for resolving the conflict are well-known. It is essential that there is no delay in conducting direct talks between the two communities in order to reach a comprehensive settlement based on these parameters. On the other hand, we know from experience that open-ended talks do not produce any results. The process to be initiated will be a test of sincerity for everyone involved. Turkey, as we have always done, will support all diplomatic efforts for a fair and lasting peace on the island and will maintain utmost solidarity with the brotherly Turkish people in Northern Cyprus.

During my Presidency, one of the areas I have placed particular importance on has been our relations with the brotherly Turkic Republics. There is no doubt that the greatest culmination of these efforts has been the foundation of the Turkic Council. The 19 visits I have made to the Turkic Republics in the last 6 years are a concrete indication of the magnitude and depth of our relations. We must relay these strong relations to the future generations.

I am equally pleased with the multidimensional and comprehensive relations we continue to develop with our neighbor, the Russian Federation. Our close cooperation with Russia on regional and global issues is also a welcome development.

The active efforts of Turkish foreign policy in the last 11 years strengthened Turkey’s global and regional ties. In this context, I believe that we must add more impetus to our relations with the rising economies of the world such as China, India, Brazil and Indonesia as active fellow G-20 members.

Similarly, there is great benefit in further developing our initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Pacific countries where we have already realized significant achievements in recent years.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the dramatic developments in the world and in our region clearly underline the need for a comprehensive defense reform. In fact, I attach importance to the comprehensive works that have been launched under my instructions to this end.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

The impact of the crisis that began in the United States in 2008 and rapidly spread first to Europe and then around the world has not yet been completely overcome.

The signals coming from the US and other developed economies with respect to changing the quantitative easing policies implemented during the crisis have led to fluctuations in the foreign exchange and interest rate indicators in emerging economies, including Turkey.

These conditions caused volatility in Turkey's exchange rate and interest rates. However, such movements are not unique to Turkey and resemble the situation in other emerging markets.

In fact, Turkey's macroeconomic foundations are extremely strong. The successful economic policies and fiscal discipline decreased the inflation rate and interest rates down to single-digit figures. We have succeeded in keeping our public debt stock and budget deficit below the Maastricht Criteria.

The ratio of interest rate expenditure to the Gross Domestic Product which was approximately 18% in 2001 was reduced to 3.5% in 2012.  This has allowed Turkey to divert its resources to physical investments and the real economy.

Credit rating agencies have noted this positive picture and raised Turkey’s credit rating to investment grade.

Indeed, the most recent data on the growth performance of the Turkish economy show that the economy continues to rise on its strong macroeconomic foundations.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

In the period ahead, we will see the tapering of quantitative easing policies that were adopted in the developed countries after the 2008 crisis.

This global economic climate may make it difficult for countries like Turkey who have low domestic savings levels to access the resources needed to finance growth.

It is clear that there will be some noteworthy effects of this new period on the Turkish economy. Therefore, it must be our priority to resolve the chronic problem of low domestic savings in Turkey. The level of domestic savings which was around 23% in the 1990s began to decrease in later years and more recently could only be raised to 15% despite measures taken.

This low savings rate is one of the most important obstacles that may prevent us from achieving a sustainable growth performance.

For this reason, it is imperative that we increase domestic savings on the one hand while increasing foreign direct investments and total factor productivity on the other hand in order to finance growth.

As I have pointed out before, structural reforms to be realized for this purpose are of vital importance to prevent Turkey from falling into the “middle income trap”.

The first thing to do in order to increase productivity under the global economic competitive environment is to raise the quality of education.

According to OECD data, Turkey's performance in basic sciences education is among the lowest in the rankings.

This is an indication that there is still a great distance to cover in our education system despite the fact that the government has allocated the greatest share to education in its budget and made significant investments in education.

During my visits to Anatolia, I inspected many of our universities. Enormous public resources are made available to universities and they are equipped with the highest standards of physical and technological infrastructure.

In light of these developments, it is only natural that society expects universities to raise the bar in their educational and scientific research performance.

Raising a generation of research-oriented, analytical people equipped with everything that the age of information requires and a sense of self-confidence will be the engine of our economic and human development in future years.

Another condition for increasing productivity and achieving a competitive edge is to prioritize science, technology and innovation policies. I have always called attention to the fact that these policies are necessary for survival in today's world.

It is therefore very important that the support provided to research and development and innovation activities in recent years continues to increase.

The translation of these activities into commercial goods and success by the private sector must constitute the fundamental dynamic of our new growth policy.

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

A lot has been done in the last 12 years to make Turkey a functioning market economy. Many economic and legal reforms have been implemented to achieve this goal. Political stability in Turkey has been the basis of important and sustainable economic achievements.

Our economy is recognized in the world as being friendly to all entrepreneurs without making any distinction between domestic and foreign companies as a result of the reforms that have been undertaken. We reaped the benefits of this development through foreign direct investments and the flow of low-cost funds.

In the future, we must not allow the erosion of these gains and our positive perception in the world markets. We must always preserve the kind of environment that will make both foreign investors and our own entrepreneurs feel safe and secure.

On the other hand, a country's economic growth cannot by itself be the guarantee of its social peace and prosperity. Therefore, it is important to ensure a fair distribution of the wealth accumulated through economic growth.

In this context, there will be great benefit in continuing to adopt social policies that improve the distribution of wealth in our country. One of the most important tools in this framework is the urban transformation projects, and it is imperative that these projects are carried out by taking into account environmental standards, urban aesthetics and social adaptation criteria.

Finally, ensuring the active participation of women in all walks of social life, first and foremost in politics and economy, will be key to our human development. Addressing this issue should be one of Turkey's priorities.

Mr. Speaker,

Distinguished Members of Parliament,

This year, we celebrate the 90th year of the Republic on October 29th. I am as proud as all our people with the achievements of our Republic throughout this period.

Today, we have a respectable place in the community of nations as a strong nation with our economy, our democracy and our army. I have no doubt that we shall follow this path with dedication as we continue to build on these achievements.

This is my last address on the occasion of the new legislative year during my term. As a Turkish citizen born on the 27th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic, who benefited from its greatest virtue of equal opportunity, I did my best to fulfill my responsibilities as President, a position granted to me by our Nation. In the last six years, I tried to say and call attention to what I believed was right and I tried to do the right thing. In this, I was guided by our Constitution, my beliefs and my conscience.

All my life, I remained in the service of our Great Nation, in the belief that “serving the people is a way of serving Allah”. From this time on, with this understanding and consciousness, I will continue to be in the service of our Nation.

In closing, I would like to offer my respects to the memory of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and all of the deceased members of our Esteemed Assembly and our martyrs. I extend my best wishes for the new legislative year and pray to Allah that it be a source of goodness and prosperity to our Nation.

Yazdır Paylaş Yukarı