Türkiye today fearlessly defends its national interests on all grounds with its effective diplomacy, President and Chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Erdoğan attended the meeting of AK Party’s provincial heads at the party headquarters in the capital Ankara before participating in an event at ATO Congresium to mark the 21st anniversary of his party’s foundation.
“Anyone who puts his hand to his conscience will admit that today’s Türkiye is a more democratic and freer country with more equal opportunities than 21 years ago,” he said.
“Today, there is a Türkiye that fearlessly defends its national interests on all grounds, including at the United Nations and NATO, and gets results with its effective diplomacy,” Erdoğan said.
He added that Türkiye has strengthened its foreign policy while gaining prestige and self-confidence.
He also criticized the opposition saying: “The biggest deficit of this country is the lack of domestic and national opposition, which has internalized democracy and reconciled with the values of the nation.”
Also, Erdoğan on Sunday evening marked the 21st anniversary of the AK Party’s foundation with a message shared on his Twitter account.
“We carry the same excitement in our hearts today as we set out on August 14, 2001. We are walking on our path with the same determination to conquer hearts and win hearts. We have never taken a step back from our cause of service to Türkiye, and we never will. Happy new year AK Party,” he said in his message.
In his post, President Erdoğan also included an image with the slogan “We have become one, we have become 21, the AK Party is 21 years old”.
Ministers from the Cabinet also shared their messages to congratulate the AK Party on its 21st anniversary since its founding, a journey marked by resounding election wins.
Founded on Aug. 14, 2001, the party burst onto the political scene under the leadership of Erdoğan, who became prime minister in 2003 and has served as president since 2014.
The AK Party’s rise gained momentum on Nov. 3, 2002, just one year after its foundation, as it achieved enormous success in its first general elections, garnering 34.3% of the vote and earning 363 seats in Parliament.
Since then, the party has participated in six general elections – in 2002, 2007, 2011 and June 2015, and the snap elections of November 2015 and 2018 – and won them all.
As a result, in the last two decades, two presidents and four prime ministers were elected from the AK Party. Despite having a successful record in elections with a strong group of leaders, the 21-year journey of the party has had its fair share of struggles.
On July 15, 2016, the AK Party had to overcome arguably one of its biggest challenges when the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) organized a bloody coup attempt. Killing 251 people, the attempt was doomed to fail as the public flooded the streets to defend the government.
Following the coup attempt, the country began transitioning to the presidential system. Turkish voters narrowly endorsed an executive presidency in the April 16, 2017 referendum with 51.4% of the votes. The official transition to the new system took place when Erdoğan took the oath in Parliament as president after the June 24, 2018, general elections, in which he won 52.6% of the votes.
Türkiye also approved a package of constitutional reforms in 2010 under the government of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan in a referendum on the 30th anniversary of a coup that brought the military to power.
Türkiye’s next elections are set for 2023.
The elections next year are “critical,” Erdoğan said in a letter to party founders and members for the 21st anniversary.
“We are determined to bring the AK Party, which has won at the ballot box 15 times since its establishment, to victory again in the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2023,” he said.