By S.Ahmet Aytac
Turkish president said on Saturday that Turkey has witnessed an upward trend over the last 16 years.
In a rally looking ahead to March 31 local elections, Recep Tayyip Erdogan rolled out the full slate of mayoral hopefuls for the Black Sea city of Samsun.
The president touted ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party mayoral candidate Mustafa Demir -- a former public works and housing minister -- as well as the 17 district mayor nominees.
“Turkey has walked an upward path over the last 16 years and will continue that rise,” said Erdogan, also the AK Party leader, referring to AK Party rule since 2002.
“But there are traps lying again ahead of us. Take a look at the events we've faced in the last five or six years. Which of them could be the work of minds thinking of this country and the nation's interests? Look at the Gezi protests of 2013 or FETO's coup attempt in 2016," added Erdogan.
In summer of 2013, relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead.
The government later said the protests were an attempt to overthrow it by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) members who infiltrated the police and court system.
On July 15, 2016, a FETO coup attempt in Turkey left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey accuses FETO – led by U.S.-based Gulen – of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Erdogan later attended a closed-door dinner with local party members at Samsun’s TUYAP Expo and Congress Center.