“We are [members of] a party that believes in fate. We are a party that took risks to serve our people. This soul belongs to God. God is the only one who can take it back. We did not and do not surrender to threats. Only God can determine the length of our life. … Those who believe in rumors and speculate on the lifespan of others, for us, are not only daring but insolent as well,” Erdoğan said during a party meeting on Wednesday.
He also lashed out at the Taraf daily, which reported the email leak on its front page on Tuesday. “Those who carry these rumors in their headlines are also very insolent,” he said.
“Those who have these stories should know this well. You can neither take nor add a moment to a lifespan that has been determined by God. The plan belongs to him and that plan will be in place,” he continued.
During the meeting, Erdoğan also claimed that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu -- who recently said more than a hundred journalists were in jail in Turkey -- was buttering up Western audiences when he complained about Turkey to foreign countries. He said, “Let me remind [Kılıçdaroğlu] that two Palestinian television channels were shut down [by Israel] in Ramallah last week.”
He noted that a workers' union -- not openly mentioning the name, but referring to the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS) -- claimed 105 journalists were in jail. “25 of these people have been convicted, 70 are under arrest pending trial, six don't have any prison records and four of them have been released. Only six of these individuals have press cards. The others consist of accountants or other office personnel. These people are being made to look as if they are journalists. Sixty-nine of these people are being charged with having links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kongra-Gel and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK). They are being accused of knowingly aiding and abetting PKK members, carrying ammunition and illegal firearms, using fake police IDs, launching armed attacks on police vehicles and recruiting members for the [PKK].”
Erdoğan said Kılıçdaroğlu was smearing his own country in spite of the truth about these people in jail. “The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] has said there are eight journalists in jail, all of whom are either under arrest or have been convicted.” He also said that over the past two weeks, 10 journalists had been arrested in London as part of an ongoing scandal involving alleged bribes paid to police by journalists. “I don't hear the opposition parties in the UK complaining about those operations. This dark propaganda against Turkey by the head of the CHP is hugely unfair. The CHP voters do not deserve this at all. I would like to appeal to CHP voters. Ask yourselves: Where are these people trying to take the CHP?”
During the meeting Erdoğan also made remarks on the Kurdish question. He accused all of Turkey's opposition parties of having left the government party alone in its initiative, which the party calls the “National Unity and Brotherhood Project,” which aims to marginalize separatist terrorism. “They [opposition parties] attacked from every direction so the National Unity and Brotherhood Project is bound to fail. We are not walking together with the CHP, the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] and the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP], but together with our people.” He vowed that the government would find a settlement to the Kurdish question, regardless of the opposition's support.