Erdogan: "We have always stood by Christians, Kurds, Alevis, Jews"
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented his "Century of Turkey Vision" at a mass meeting held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkish capital Ankara on Friday.
He claimed in his address that during the 20 years of uninterrupted AKP administrations they have stood against discrimination targeting the ethnic peoples and minorities in Turkey.
"All those who were earlier discriminated, and instigated to engage in internal conflicts have contributed to the great revolution that we managed to make in only 20 years. We have stood by the excluded Muslims, the Kurds who have been discriminated because of their language, Alevis who have been oppressed because of their moral fibre, Christians and Jews who have been persecuted; we have supported them in their struggle, compensated them for their lossses."
Erdogan's remarks came as the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), who received over six million votes in elections in the recent past, faces a closure case over "terror charges" in the Turkish Constitutional Court.
Erdogan's remarks also brought to mind some of his phrases that became viral in the last decade.
He had said in June 2011 in a live broadcast:
"There are many books, I think it's over thirty, that have been written on us. They branded us in these books as Jews, Armenians, and, excuse my french, as Rums [Greeks]. Can you imagine that?"
In August 2014, he had said in another TV broadcast:
"They have told all sorts of things about me. One of them said I am Georgian. Someone else said something much nastier, he said that I am, excuse my french, Armenian."
While the massacres targeting Alevi communities in Maras in 1978, Corum in 1980, and Sivas in 1993 have not been fully investigated, some of the lawyers of the perpetrators of the Sivas Massacre served as AKP ministers and deputies.
Erdogan has also always strongly denied that Alevi belief is not a distinct faith, claiming that it is a branch of Islam.