Good Party General Chair and presidential candidate Meral Akşener addressed thousands of citizens in Gaziantep’s 15 July Democracy Square. Akşener’s Antep rally was overshadowed by the impediments applied for “security” reasons. With roads leading to Antep city centre blocked kilometres away by the police from the morning hours, fresh security measures not applied at other rallies were in evidence. Citizens who had arrived hours before the time of the rally were evacuated from the area for a “bomb search” that should have been conducted at night. The awnings that were to be hung behind the platform from which Akşener was to speak were apparently stolen in the night despite the intense security measures. The banners reading “Welcome” that parties had hung up in the city were said to have been taken down by the municipality in the morning hours. As to access to the area, the tram system, proclaimed to be free of charge when there are AKP rallies, was halted before the Good Party rally.
“Don’t hurry at all!”
The municipal trucks that were brought into the vicinity of the area purportedly as a security measure created a scandal after the rally. Akşener, who had railed against the provincial governor and mayor at the rally, set off to make it to a rally in Osmaniye after the rally. Before long, Akşener’s convoy was cut off by a municipal garbage truck. Akşener, getting out of her official car and approaching the truck driver, reproached, “Don’t hurry at all.” With the truck pulling of the road following a short wait, Akşener said, “Shame on the provincial governor and mayor. You see, don’t you? And a garbage truck.” For their part, citizens attending the rally criticised the local authority saying, “A political party chair’s way is being blocked. We don’t want an AKP provincial governor.”
The key points from Akşener’s Antep rally were as follow:
-Women getting involved: There is both an election for party-member presidents and members of parliament on 24 June. The ruling body and Erdoğan wanted this. They set up the People’s Alliance and we, too, gave our blessing and set out on the road. But, we have seen that the party most ready is the Good Party. With the holders of power accusing all the opposition, “You cannot go east of the Euphrates,” this sibling of yours has said, “The east of the Euphrates is ours” and has gone to every city twice. Women have got involved in Turkey and we have set out on the road to solve all problems with a woman’s eye and heart.
-The young are unemployed: Antep is both a farming, and commercial and also industrial city. So, why is there so much unemployment? The young are employed. Because of incompetent policies. Has the state built a factory in Antep over the past sixteen years? The farmer despises his fields. Youth unemployment will not end without a productive economy.
-Where has the money gone?: They have collected two trillion dollars in taxes over sixteen years. It is unknown where that money has gone and into whose pockets. What we will do will be to instil trust, develop democracy and end unemployment with a productive economy.
Up in arms over pledges: There are ten million unemployed. 26% of them are youths. 34% are women. It is the state’s duty to find work for those youths. We said we would give a citizenship benefit of 500 lira until finding a job and everyone was up in arms. They ask how we are going to fund it. They ride around in luxury cars with the state’s money. We will tell them to get out of those cars and we will find jobs for young people.
-ID card the only clout: A system in which early risers expectorate on the education system. Good schools and bad schools. Good teachers and bad teachers. All teachers must be on the payroll. We will do away with the performance system. We will do away with the interview system. Your only clout will be your ID card.+
-Nobody will be able to make a threatening move: Women cannot walk the streets. It is our solemn duty to put them at ease. Violence against women and abuse of women and children. I will take such measures against them that nobody will be able to make a threatening move.
Thanks for the “obstacle race”
Akşener also addressed the provincial governate’s obstacles at the speech she made at the rally and called out to those in attendance, “You have got through an obstacle race. An Antep in which the obstacles in the street, amounting to the provincial governor and municipality, start one kilometre away. The provincial governor’s duty is not to be the ruling party’s provincial chair. They should be the state’s civil servants. But, Turkey is in this state because they are not. That is why we are coming to rescue our people who have had their fill.