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Erdoğan: We will solve the problems caused by the price increases
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Noting that they had a fruitful visit to Turkmenistan upon the invitation of President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Erdoğan said that they had bilateral talks on November 27, and he attended the 15th Leaders' Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) on November 28.

Erdoğan stated that he discussed the relations between Turkey and Turkmenistan with Berdimuhamedov within the framework of his official visit and that they, as the first country to recognize Turkmenistan, attached importance to enhancing the time-honored brotherhood in all fields.

Stating that they were making efforts to improve relations, especially in the fields of energy, transportation, trade, education, security, and infrastructure, Erdoğan said that they set the target of bringing bilateral trade volume to 5 billion dollars as soon as possible and that he wholeheartedly believed that they would achieve this goal with joint steps to be taken.

Reminding that he was decorated with Turkmenistan's Order of State during his visit, Erdoğan stated that during the visit, along with a joint declaration demonstrating their commitment to developing bilateral relations, they signed a total of nine agreements, exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual concern and that they were determined to further their cooperation with Berdimuhamedov in all fields.

Noting that the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization was held and hosted by Turkmenistan, and that, with the Ashgabat Summit, they handed over the presidency of the Organization after an over two-year term, Erdoğan continued his remarks as follows:

“During the Summit, we explored ways to improve the Organization's efficiency and intra-regional trade. We discussed how to resolve the transportation sector's challenges, which were exacerbated by the pandemic-related constraints. We emphasized the need to bolster regional and international solidarity in order to overcome the challenging pandemic circumstances. We also highlighted the need to enhance our collaboration, particularly in the fight against terrorism and irregular migration. We reviewed the Organization's top priorities, most notably the improvement of our region's trade and transportation networks. With the Ashgabat Action Memorandum that we announced, we proved our determination and the actions we intend to take in this direction.”

Erdoğan said that they held bilateral meetings with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Arif Alvi, and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and that they had the opportunity to discuss the issues on their agenda sincerely.

Expressing his hope that the very successful visit they had would further improve relations with Turkmenistan and within the Economic Cooperation Organization, Erdoğan extended his gratitude to Berdimuhamedov for his sincere hospitality.

Organization of Turkic States

Upon the question, “You have the calls, 'The World is Bigger Than 5' and 'A Fairer World Together'. You also addressed the theme ‘Together to the Future’ here. Will the Organization of Turkic States lend a fresh impetus to your struggle? What impact does the Organization of Turkic States have on the rest of the world?” Erdoğan reminded that the leaders' summit held on the Democracy and Freedoms Island by the Organization of Turkic States was a high-level meeting.

Pointing out that Berdimuhamedov succeeded in gathering the leaders at a high-level meeting in Turkmenistan, Erdoğan said:

“I have to emphasize a certain point here. In a global world, such gatherings are the most important indicator of cooperation, collaboration, and solidarity.  These are not ordinary meetings, but thanks be to Allah, we were able to meet in this period. All of the Turkic republics were represented here by their leaders. And another point is the fact that the great Turkic nation, which has blood ties as well as historical and cultural ties, has taken these steps, strengthening our bonds.  Thus, we are edging closer to establishing a unique organization in the world. Certainly, this is a source of pride for us. In 2013, I had a statement. I had said, 'The 21st century will be Turkey's century'. Of course, this was also a statement that meant the Turks would build such a century in the world. We are currently in this position. Leaders have an important standing at this point. Our Turkmen brothers have a particular place in our hearts. Their affinity for Turkey is very, very special. Hopefully, this will be an occasion for a Turkey-Turkmenistan relationship in which we can increase the trade volume to $5 billion, leading us to a different level in the future.”

In response to the question, “Until now, the words spoken and the steps taken regarding Turkic solidarity has not disturbed anyone, but now that you have stepped in, some countries in the region have brought it to their agenda. There have been some, especially from Russia, who perceived this as a threat. For Turkey, what is the ultimate goal and purpose of the Turkic solidarity, the Organization of the Turkic States, and what is your message to those who see it as a threat?” Erdoğan reminded that they changed the name of the Turkic Council to the Organization of Turkic States at the meeting on the Democracy and Freedoms Island.

Stating that all leaders inclined towards this new formation, Erdoğan made the following remarks:

“Of course, there were those who were disturbed by this. I can't say that Russia was bothered about this. Because on Friday, our brother Ilham Aliyev had a meeting in Russia. They held a meeting there under the chairmanship of Pashinyan and Mr. Putin. During our talk about that meeting, my brother Ilham Aliyev informed me that it was fairly pleasant and fruitful. Through this meeting, the issue of railway and highway construction along the Aras River has been resolved. Along with this step, there is also the highway issue that will reach up to Iğdır. A very successful step will have been taken for Azerbaijan to link with Iğdır by resolving the Nakhchivan issue through the highway issue, and on the other hand, crossing through the territory of Armenia. In addition, an important step will be taken in human and freight transportation, both by road and rail. We have previously brought up the Platform of Six. Putting the Platform of Six into effect with Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, and, if accepted, with Georgia will unambiguously prove the regional peace, and we have discovered that there are positive developments in this regard.

Ukraine-Russia tension

Upon the question, “According to media sources, up to 100,000 Russian soldiers have gathered on the Ukrainian border. Numerous countries are really concerned about this issue at the moment. NATO, likewise, is concerned. What is Turkey's take on the escalating tension on the border? Can Turkey, which has good relationships with both Russia and Ukraine, serve as a mediator?” Erdoğan replied: “Our stance on this issue is prominent. We favor the dominance of peace in the region, particularly the policy toward the Crimean Turks. We have discussed and are still discussing these concerns on several occasions with friendly Russia, most notably with Mr. Putin. We hope that this region does not devolve into a conflict zone. Let this region stroll into the future as a peaceful place. We desire that the attitude toward this subject evolves positively. We may either take a role as a mediator or discuss this issue with them. With Allah's permission, we would like to have a share in the solution of this by having these talks both with Ukraine and with Mr. Putin.”

New economy model

Upon the question, “You have implemented a new economy model to strengthen production, employment and exports. You aim to keep the interest rate as low as possible. Which conditions were required to become ripe for implementing this model during your 19-year rule? Will the advantages of the new model emerge in the near future? Will there be some steps that will relieve people with low-income during this process?” Erdoğan emphasized that they had pursued an economic policy that suited their needs, priorities, and reality since the day they came to power, probably for the first time in history, and they continued to do so with the same determination.

Expressing that they were also fighting for economic independence, as they took those steps, they faced with resistance and various attacks against the economy from the inside and outside by the tutelage, Erdoğan continued as follows:

“We have eliminated each and every one of these attacks together with our nation. We did not and do not give any credit to the exchange rate and interest games of those who want to drag us to where they want. Investment, production, employment and export have always been our priority during our journey towards development. We will continue to walk towards our goals without taking doomsayers, mandatory economists and economic hit men into consideration. This country was forced to become indebted at high costs, at rates well above the world average in the years before us. This meant dependency. An economically dependent country, of course, cannot implement its own policies. When you attempt to go beyond the determined line, what you will encounter is blackmail. If you do not have the capacity to resist it, you will be condemned to instability. Thanks to the strong political will we have displayed in the last 19 years to save our country from this situation permanently and especially with the Presidential System of Government, we have gained the capacity and the opportunity to wage this struggle. We will solve the problems caused by the price increases due to the fluctuations in the exchange rate that have no economic basis in recent days, with investment, employment and production in favor of our nation. We will grow, and as we grow, our nation will win.”

Erdoğan stated that since the first day they came to power, their theses on the economy were concentrated especially on low interest rates, that the interest-inflation relationship always worked as “interest is the cause, inflation is the result”, and that thesis did not change.

Underlining that he still advocated and believed in the same thesis, Erdoğan said, “As a person who studied economics, and what I believe and know within a range of values ​​beyond economics degree, I assert that interest is the cause, not the result. The result is inflation. But some argue the opposite. They argue that inflation is the cause and interest is the result. Well, let's take a look at the world. In a world currently dominated by the global economy, is inflation the cause and interest is the result? Or is interest the cause and inflation the result? The point of inflation reached in the USA, and Europe is obvious. Let's look at Israel... What is the interest rate in Israel, what is inflation, what is the rate? Let's look at this. When we look at this, we already see that our thesis is right. At the moment, I am still firm on my claim.”

“We need the TEKNOFEST generation”

Erdoğan answered the question, “There is a concept called Generation Z. What message would you like to give to Generation Z?” as: “We need the TEKNOFEST generation. The TEKNOFEST generation is currently in a very serious race with their intelligence, technological and scientific works and they are killing it everywhere.

Stating that TEKNOFEST would also have an important program in Azerbaijan, Erdoğan said:

“There is also a programme in Samsun. We will continue to hold TEKNOFEST in particular. It is also essential; at the time we were elected, the voting age was 30. We reduced the voting age to 25, then to 18. The AK Party is a party that is always concerned with youth. Why were not the 25 and 18-year-old age groups brought up before us? We put it on the agenda. Everything is there: documents, history, and so forth because we are centred on the idea that our ancestor Fatih conquered İstanbul at the age of 21. If the ancestors of this nation succeeded in a major conquest in their 20s, we would succeed in everything with Allah's permission and the trust inherited by this nation.”

When asked, “During the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Turkey, a number of agreements were signed. Is it possible to say that we have entered a new era with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)?” Erdoğan said, “In 2011, we had a meeting with Mohammed bin Zayed. After that, we went through different phases, but we never completely severed our ties. At least, intelligence services continued to contact one another. In the meantime, our commercial ties remained active.”

Stating that, despite unfavorable developments, the situation has finally improved, Erdoğan said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed's brother first came to Turkey and had a meeting with relevant units as well as the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Investment Office, stating that they were ready for the investment. Expressing that Mohammed bin Zayed later visited Turkey at his special request, Erdoğan continued as follows:

“The visit, indeed, carried out in a sincere environment. And we made these agreements during this visit. I believe that the articles in the agreements were crucial in ushering in a new era between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and ensuring its long-term viability. Our bilateral and inter-delegation meetings went quite well, and we signed agreements there. If possible, I will have a return visit in February for the next process. Prior to my visit, both Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Head of the National Intelligence Organization will pay a visit. Preparations will be made before the visit. Then, hopefully, in February, I will travel with a big delegation, and we will take some significant steps. They presented a $10 billion investment plan. By putting this investment plan into action, we will create a totally different future. Progress will be made in this area as well.”

Upon being asked, “The relationship that began with the United Arab Emirates inevitably reminded us of the relations with Israel and Egypt. How do you view these relations? Will you appoint ambassadors to Israel and Egypt?” Erdoğan said, “We will appoint the ambassadors within a particular time frame once we have made our decision. Certain actions have been made, such as appointing charges d'affaires in the countries you mentioned. There are no ambassadors; however, there are charges d'affaires. We will take these actions gradually and in accordance with a timetable. We will take similar steps with other countries as we did the United Arab Emirates.”

“We cannot be so ruthless”

Indicating that Turkey is home to approximately 5 million refugees, President Erdoğan stated that they were hosting those individuals and doing everything possible to care for them. Pointing out that hospitality occupies a unique role among national values, Erdoğan noted, 

“We keep this alive. We will continue to do so in the future. We are currently building single-story brick houses in the north of Syria. These brick houses triggered such a reaction that now some countries are saying, 'Offer us a project, let's build two-story, three-story houses, instead of one-story houses, let's ensure that refugees who came to Turkey return to their homeland, to their own territories.' We're currently working on it with our colleagues. Our Ministry of Interior is closely following this issue. Hopefully, we will also take these steps. We cannot be so ruthless.”

Upon being asked, “The fact that a person with a long criminal history, such as extortion and wounding, may walk into the subway with a knife without any control has prompted worries about the prevention of violence in public places. Is it possible to use a HES (Life Fits into Home) code-like system to keep those who have previously been involved in violence out of various public spaces?” Erdoğan replied: “This is on the agenda of our Ministry of Interior. We will take all relevant measures. We will put a lot of effort into this. Necessary steps are being taken, and will be taken, to tighten access controls or the police measures inside.” (ILKHA)

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