Erdogan: "Greatest national shortfall, a democracy-friendly opposition"
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the administrations of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has, in the last 20 years, "expanded areas of freedom despite advocates of repression."
Speaking in a party meeting in the Turkish capital on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the AKP, Erdogan also said that they have accomplished a "silent revolution" in Turkey through reforms, particularly by means of the transition to the presidential system in 2017.
He criticized a "shortfall of a pro-democracy opposition":
"As I've said several times before, the greatest shortfall in this country is the shortfall of democracy-friendly opposition, who is in peace with national values; a local and national opposition."
While the opposition in Turkey has been accusing Erdogan of practically ending the functions of the Turkish Parliament and the independence of the judiciary, Turkey's current status, according to the Freedom House, is "not free", with an average score of 32 over 100, and a score of 16 over 60 in the category of civil liberties.
Turkey has been ranked 149th among 180 countries in the 2022 Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Record number of cases of "insulting the president"
160,000 criminal investigations have been launched, since Erdogan won the presidency first time in 2014, over allegations of insulting the president, and these have resulted in more than 38,500 lawsuits.
The number of lawsuits for allegedly insulting Erdogan is 45 times more than similar lawsuits launched during the term of the previous president Abdullah Gul, and 113 times more than those launched during military coup leader Kenan Evren's presidency in the 1980s.