The Most “Erdogan” Moments of 2022
CAN BURGAZ- Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not a run-of-the-mill politician. He has always managed to stay in the spotlight with his unruly personality, never backing down. Erdogan, who is capable of targeting anyone and taking a step back from what he had said before depending on the conditions and his political interests, continued this approach in 2022, as well. Erdogan said things that no other politician can get away with saying in 2022.
Here are the most Erdogan moments of 2022:
Is Demirtas Kurdish?
Former co-chair of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Selahattin Demirtas has been imprisoned since 2016. In a speech he made in Diyarbakir, a predominantly Kurdish area, Erdogan claimed that Demirtas was not Kurdish.
“Does the character who is now at the Edirne Prison have anything to do with being Kurdish? No, this man is not Kurdish. Bur he exploit my Kurdish brothers. Do they have a single co-chair who is Kurdish now? No. They are also exploiting my Kurdish brothers. We shall not be fooled by their schemes.”
President Erdogan targeted the 2013 Gezi Park protesters in the National Assembly group meeting on 1 June. He accused the protesters of causing chaos, and insulted them by calling them “sluts.”
“These terrorists, plunderers had urinated inside the mosque, with beer bottles in their hands. They are rotten, they are sluts. History writes what the powers behind the Gezi incidents were, where public buildings, police vehicles, businesses, buses, and streets were destroyed. No good can come of them to this nation. They are always on the side of the terrorism-lovers.”
Travel the World
With purchasing power that has been declining due to high inflation on the one hand, and the difficulty of getting visas from European countries, it is not easy for young people to travel the world. But President Erdogan decided to offer advice on traveling the world during his 1 April speech:
“We want our young people to hold on to real life while they utilize the internet and social media. Do not eliminate printed books from your bags and tables. Allocate regular time for sports. Do not forget about a chat accompanied by tea or coffee. Try to do your best in order to visit the cities of our country, as well as the world and get to know different cultures.”
Winter in Europe
European countries are experiencing a difficult winter as Russia has cut off the gas following its invasion of Ukraine. Erdogan kept bringing up this subject and accused the West.
“Europe is reaping what it has sowed. Europe’s attitude toward Mr. Putin has inevitably led him to say, ‘If this is how you act, I shall respond in kind.’ I believe Europe will have serious difficulties this winter. We have no such problems.”
On 7 September, Erdogan empathized with Russia while in Serbia.
“I say this to those who underestimate Russia: you are making a mistake. Russia is not a country to be underestimated. What happened? Russia has cut off the natural gas. Prices have suddenly increased in Europe. Now everyone is thinking desperate thoughts: ‘How will we survive this winter?’ Why didn’t you think about this beforehand? Russia has such a valuable resource, you should have thought about it earlier. Now there are discussions about stockpiles. Of course Russia will use its capabilities and weapons when everyone attacks it. It’s as simple as that.”
The tensions between Greece and Turkey continued all year. Erdogan never insisted on using a diplomatic language on this subject. During a meeting with young people in Samsun on 11 December, Erdogan said he would strike Athens if necessary.
“Now we have started to produce our own missiles. Of course this production scares the Greek. You say ‘Tayfun’ and the Greek gets scared, says ‘It could hit Athens.’ Well of course it will. If you do not behave, if you try to but things for the islands from the US or here and there, a country like Turkey will not stand by idly, it has to do something.”
Cornering the West
Erdogan visited Nagorno-Karabakh on 20 October and said that the West had to be cornered in a non-diplomatic language.
“I look around me now; what they have done to Jabrayil during the occupation. I asked my brother if AGIT and the EU have come to see these places. No, they won’t. Why? Because they will see their shame, they will see what the West has done, they will see what was done to Jabrayil and all of Karabakh by supporting the occupation. Of course they don’t want to see all this. They know what was done, in fact. They must be cornered by demanding reparations.”
Supported by Soros
When Aliyev called the Azadliq radio reporter “supported by Soros” on 7 October, Erdogan said, “Don’t you do such a thing.” Turkish Ambassador in Prague Egemen Bagis, who was with the duo, said “They give a Green Card for those who work for 5 years there, and a US passport for those who work for 10 years.” Erdogan later told Aliyev, “Soros keeps buying journalists all the time, anyway.”
You Will do Whatever is Necessary
Answering a pro-government journalist’s question on 28 September, Erdogan mentioned another pro-government journalist, Ahmet Hakan, and said “Well, Abdulkadir Bey, you have to do whatever is necessary in your column. Ahmet Bey does it.”
Erdogan’s directives to journalists once again displayed the level of freedom of press in Turkey.
We Pity Them
Turkey has become a difficult country for young people and increasing numbers migrate to the West. On 28 September, Erdogan accused these young people.
“Those who still praise other countries, societies, and ways of life are tying to destroy our social fabric. We pity those who knock on other countries’ doors in order to satisfy superficial desires like a better car or a better new phone. We can foresee the regret such people will experience when they will be unable to find the state mechanisms of mercy and affection they need tomorrow.”
Soros of Turkey
Businessman Osman Kavala has been jailed for over five years. The accusations aimed at him and the legal process have become a comedy for most observers. Even though the Europen Court of Human Rights has a decision for his release, he is still in jail. Meanwhile, Erdogan continued to accuse him in 2022.
“The Osman Kavala decision has annoyed certain circles. This guy was the Soros of Turkey. He was the coordinator of the Gezi incidents behind the scenes. There is the rule of law in this country, there is a judiciary. And this judiciary has made this decision based on its beliefs and view of justice. People need to abide by it. Our judiciary has not only eased the conscience regarding the Gezi incidents with this decision but is has also given a lesson in law and justice to those who have similar intentions.”