President criticizes opposition’s economic pledges, calls HDP ‘buffoons’

RIZE: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan increased his indirect criticism of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) on Monday ahead of a parliamentary election slated for June 7, calling the party “buffoonish” and saying “it is not in a situation to administer the economy.”

“These [people] are buffoons. It [the HDP] is not in a situation where it can administer the economy. These [people] cannot even administer the municipalities that they hold,” Erdogan said. The president did not openly name the HDP during the remarks which he made at an opening ceremony in his hometown of Rize on Monday.

Erdogan also mentioned billboards by the HDP in the eastern province of Van, which illustrate blood running from taps, saying that he has not ever seen blood run from taps but if the taps are the HDP’s, such a thing might be possible.

The Turkish president also slammed the party for its pledge to abolish the country’s Religious Affairs Directorate, saying the party is not hiding its hostility against the headscarf and religion, and that the pledge reflects its “heretical mindset.”

“The ones with their head covered, the ones with heads not covered, all are citizens of this country. Why do you sow seeds of discrimination among them? There is no problem with the people with their heads covered and not covered. The problem is with this heretical mindset,” Erdogan said.

In answer to criticisms by the opposition that he is participating in current political campaigns in favor of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) despite his duty to be “impartial” under the Turkish Constitution, Erdogan said no one can take away his right to “take the stage,” as the public voted in the Aug. 10, 2014 presidential election for him to hold rallies.

“They say ‘the president shouldn’t take the stage.’ The nation voted for me to take the stage. By which right do you seek the way to ban a president that came from this nation. These [people] do not even read the Constitution… None of these [people] can take my right away from me,” Erdogan said.

He has previously defended the rallies, saying he has the right to use state resources to conduct campaign rallies across Turkey.

The opposition has been voicing criticism over the rallies ahead of the June elections, saying that he is openly violating Article 103 of the Constitution, which covers the president’s oath and clearly states that the holder of the post must assure the public that he will remain impartial while performing his duties.