Yiğit Bulut, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's top adviser, said at a discussion panel in İstanbul on Wednesday that “if there is a true socialist in Turkey, that's Prime Minister Erdoğan.”
While commenting on economic developments in Turkey, Bulut criticized Turkish leftists for staying quiet about the country's economic problems. “Have you said a single word about the banking system for the last 60 years? Have you said anything about employee rights in the last 60 years? Have you said anything against the capitalists? If you have said anything on these issues, I will apologize to all socialists. If there is a true socialist in Turkey, that is Prime Minister Erdoğan,” Bulut said in highly critical comments of Turkish left.
Bulut recently said that Turkey needs to stop aspiring to European Union membership and seek to expand its influence in the Middle East and elsewhere, raising questions as to whether Turkey is abandoning its goal of EU membership.
In August, Bulut said on a TV program that there are only two and a half leaders in the world -- and Erdoğan is one of them. “The world has a leadership problem. Today there are two and a half leaders in the world. One is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the second is [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the other half is [US President Barack] Obama,” Bulut said, adding that lobbyists in the US had reduced Obama to a “half-leader.”