World, Europe

Erdogan addresses Turks living in Europe

More than 20,000 citizens gather in Sarajevo to listen to Turkish president

20.05.2018
Erdogan addresses Turks living in Europe

By Talha Ozturk

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Turkey's president on Sunday called on the Turkish diaspora in Europe to play an active role in political parties of their countries of residence.

"I request you to take part actively in political parties in the countries you live in. You should take part in those parliaments, not those who betray my country. Turkish society has this power. Let's not make the small differences between us, an obstacle to walking on bigger targets," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, in an address at the 6th general assembly of Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD) in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

More than 20,000 Turkish citizens living in European countries gathered to listen to his speech.

Erdogan said the most enmity towards Turkey in European parliaments is being exhibited by Turkish-origin people.

"On June 24, we will not only elect a president and lawmakers but we will also make a choice for the next century of our country," Erdogan added, referring to the upcoming elections in Turkey.

"You are witness to what we have been doing in the past 16 years," Erdogan said referring to his Justice and Development (AK) Party rule. 

"Sometimes it can be difficult for us to grasp the dimensions of the mold we live in. I believe that you have the possibility of seeing and evaluating from abroad more comfortably what is going on in our country," said Erdogan.

He likened the presidential candidates to fish in the sea.

"Some presidential candidates do not know what is going on in Turkey. These presidential candidates living in our country are like fish in the sea, they do not understand. When you take them out of the sea and throw them on the land, then they understand the value of the sea."

This April, the Turkish parliament passed a bill for early elections on June 24, cementing Turkey’s move to a presidential system.

In the April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.

Turkish leader arrived in the Bosnian capital on an official visit on Sunday. He was welcomed by flag-waving Bosnian and Turkish citizens in front of the presidency building. 

He later addressed students and academics at the International University of Sarajevo, where an honorary doctorate was awarded to the president.

Erdogan criticised the UN Security Council over its inactivity in recent developments in Palestine and added: "If the world will surrender to these five members of the UN Security Council, we will perish. The persecutors are constantly patted on their backs making the world unlivable for us. So we say: 'Long live hell for all tyrants!'"

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