Ibrahim Kalin’s remarks came after a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential complex.
“Our resolute fight against terrorist organizations and elements will continue in every field and on the ground in line with the strategy of eradicating terror at its source as formulized by Mr. President. Our state will continue to take every measure against all terrorist threats, no matter from which terrorist organization they originate from, both inside and outside our borders, including in Syria, Iraq, Europe or anywhere else. Our state will also continue to carry into effect these measures against terrorist organizations at every platform, ranging from military operations to financial precautions.
I especially would like to stress that we have recently covered substantial distance in the internal security within the framework of that strategy of wiping out terror at its source. I am glad to note that the number of people joining the terrorist organization has declined whilst the surrenders are on the rise. As I said yesterday, we saw this year the lowest number of the past 30 years in terms of those joining the terrorist organization. In this sense, coordinated efforts and struggle of the Ministry of Interior, the National Intelligence Organization, the Turkish Armed Forces, the Gendarmerie and village guards have started to yield concrete results. We also continue to take effective measures regarding border security and other areas.
As you know, Turkey is the only NATO-member state fighting against three terrorist organizations, particularly the PKK, the FETO, and the DAESH. Animosity against Turkey is what they have in common even if their ideologies and methods might differ from one another. They might employ different methods; however, their ultimate goal is to harm Turkey and its citizens. Their efforts to this end will never break but will strengthen our will and determination in the fight against terror.
As a concrete manifestation of this, as you know, a very high-level member of the separatist terrorist organization was neutralized yesterday in Sinjar. Our strategy aimed at eliminating terrorist elements is currently being implemented in an effective manner in Sinjar and its vicinity as Mr. President has repeatedly stated. Yesterday’s operation was conducted very successfully thanks to the intensive coordination among the National Intelligence Organization, the Turkish Armed Forces, the Gendarmerie and the Ministry of Interior. Rest assured that such operations will continue. As was stated during Mr. Al-Abadi’s visit to Turkey two days ago, we will continue in the period ahead as well to work in complete cooperation in order to fully clear terrorist elements from such terror-supporting locations as Sinjar, Qandil, Makhmur, etc.
Another important issue on our agenda in the recent economic developments. The measures we have taken have resulted in a rapid upturn in economy continuing for the last two days. We especially thank our citizens, business circles, investors, industrialists and merchants who have responded positively to the call Mr. President made for mobilizing against this economic war and perception management operation.
We also thank our partners, both from Turkey and abroad, as well as the countries, organizations and institutions that made necessary statements regarding the issue.
One of the concrete outcomes of the visit the Qatar Emir paid to our country yesterday is the Qatar state’s decision to make an investment of some $15 billion in our country in various sectors.
Likewise, we have started to receive positive news and outcomes from Kuwait, Germany, France and Russia as a result of the intensive talks the Minister of Treasury and Finance has been conducting for the past week.
This issue was addressed in detail during Mr. President’s phone calls with German Chancellor Merkel yesterday and French President Macron today. The leaders of Europe’s two important countries stated that maintaining the strength and stability of the Turkish economy is of great importance not only for Turkey but also for the European and global economy. They also expressed concern about the Trump administration’s inclination to use trade, dollar and tariffs as a weapon. As you know, the relevant decisions by the Trump administration don’t only relate to Turkey. Similar decisions for additional tariffs had formerly been taken regarding the EU, the Eurozone, European countries. And it is the common concern of everybody that this is evolving into a trade war if we are to add China as well. Germany, France, Russia, Qatar, Kuwait and others have once again reiterated they are beside Turkey in this process.
As Mr. President stated today during the opening remarks of the Cabinet meeting, Turkey will definitely turn this crisis into an opportunity, no one should ever doubt that. We have absolute confidence in our economy and our economic institutions regarding this issue, and we, with the help of Allah, will see the outcomes of this.
I would also like to note within this scope that Turkey doesn’t desire tension or seek economic war with anyone. We are all going through a period in which the Turkish economy, integrated with the global economy within the framework of the free market rules, is growing stronger while also taking necessary measures against any possible threats and attacks. And, in this sense, as Mr. President stated, this crises will turn into an opportunity and Turkey will emerge stronger out of this process. Let me also underline the importance of the spirit of unity and solidarity we have displayed so far during this process.
One of the most important outcomes of this process is probably the fact that Turkey will proceed on its way from now on by increasing its alternatives. In other words, Turkey does not lack alternatives, and it will henceforth proceed on its way by increasing its options and alternatives in terms of energy, trade, investments and other areas in line with the global developments.”
Now, let me stop here and let us continue with your questions.
Question: “You also talked about Qatar’s investment package of $15 billion. Could you share any details with us?”
Presidential Spokesperson Kalın: “Our Ministry of Treasury and Finance is working on that. A good package was prepared in different fields and sectors. The Presidency and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance will share the details as they emerge. On behalf of our country and our nation, I would like to thank once again to the Emir of Qatar for his truly noble stance. Qatar has shown once again it is a true friend of Turkey.
We also have seen that the people of Qatar stood with Turkey, converted their currencies to TL, sent support messages, came over here for their vacations and voiced on all platforms that they must stand with Turkey, which is very pleasing.
As I said, other countries have begun to voice their support. People from across the world have begun to voice their support, concrete results of which we have begun to see. The Turkish economy will emerge stronger from this period. As the details of this package is announced, we will see its effect on the markets.”
“OPERATIONS LIKE SINJAR WILL CONTINUE”
Question: “I have two questions. First, you mentioned the meeting with Al-Abadi. Air operations into Sinjar continue. Will there be a ground operation in the upcoming days? And secondly, there is a 9-day-long Eid holiday ahead of us. Will any measures be taken against speculations against the Turkish Lira?”
Presidential Spokesperson Kalın: “Let me begin with your second question. Channels of currency speculation and perception operations on Turkish lira have been shut down. All our citizens, consumers, business people, manufacturers and employers should rest assured. We will get through this period with calm and rational steps without any panic. We have already begun to see signs of improvement, which will hopefully continue during the Eid.
On Sinjar, the issue was discussed in detail when Mr. Al-Abadi was here. As I said earlier, it is not just about Sinjar. We have long been carrying out talks con a comprehensive security package regarding places like Qandil and Makhmur where the separatist terrorist organization have networks. You can see the operation into Sinjar yesterday as part of that
The security forces of the Republic of Turkey will make such interventions when needed in any way necessary, whether it be via ground, air or other ways. We never allow such attacks against our country. As the Iraqi authorities clearly express, it is also out of the question for them to allow the Iraqi territories to be used for attacks against Turkey. Sometimes, it may be a matter of capability on the Iraqi side. For example, Qandil is a hard place to reach. However, we are fully determined to wipe out terror. Operations like Sinjar will continue in an intense way.”
Question: “Today a statement came from the White House, describing the additional tariffs from Turkey as regrettable and a step in the wrong direction. The statement also noted that the U.S. tariffs that are in place on Turkey-origin steel would not be removed with the release of Pastor Brunson because, the statement claimed, the tariffs that the U.S. placed on Turkey are out of national security interests while Turkey’s are out of retaliation. What are your assessments on this issue?”
Presidential Spokesperson Kalın: “In my opinion there is a terminology problem here. That the White House associates the imposition of tariffs on iron-steel and aluminum products from Turkey with national security while turning a blind eye to Turkey’s legitimate demands about its national security causes one to ask if we mean different things by national security.
As the Minister of Trade has already stated, the burden of additional tariffs the U.S. levied on these products is against the rules of the Word Trade Organization. What is more, Turkey is not the only country that complains about this issue. There is a reaction against this imposition of tariffs in the entire world. We also see it being strongly criticized in the U.S. All this actually attests to the rightful, legitimate and rational approach Turkey takes regarding this issue.
I have already stressed that we don’t want to escalate tension or initiate a new economic war with anyone. However, no one should ever doubt that Turkey will take all the necessary measures in the period ahead as well when it is its national interests, economy and lira that is at stake.”
Question: “The Presidency made statements on the phone calls with Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Macron, and you also made remarks on them, but could you please elaborate on them? Will similar situations like the one taking place with Qatar, particularly regarding economy, namely, new investments in Turkey or using local currencies in bilateral trade, be in question with Germany and France, as well, in the upcoming period? Also, both Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Macron made remarks that any difficulty in Turkish economy would affect the EU, too, and hence Germany and France. Could you please give details on this?”
Presidential Spokesperson Kalın: “As I stated yesterday, these two phone-call requests came from them and the talks were held in a very positive atmosphere. Mrs. Merkel proposed that the Ministers of Treasury, Finance and Economy immediately meet with each other, and the same proposal came from Mr. Macron, as well. In fact, our Minister of Treasury and Finance already made a phone call today, and they will meet in the forthcoming days. Likewise, he will also meet with his French counterpart and discuss the details of this issue.
Of course, we will see what kind of a package will emerge as a result of those negotiations. It will be wrong for me to say anything at the moment. Yet, the demonstration of this good intention is important. Previously, as you know, favorable remarks came from the EU, Italy and other countries. As I have said earlier, this is also important in terms of manifesting the place of Turkish economy within the global economy. I mean, the weakening of Turkish economy has long stopped being an issue that only concerns Turkey. Because, we are talking about an economic system which is integrated with the world and which functions within the rules of free market. There are thousands of companies from Europe, the U.S., the Gulf Region and Asia here. None of us, for sure, wants these companies to be damaged. On the contrary, we have already created necessary conditions for more investors to come to Turkey, and we will consolidate these conditions. As a matter of fact, during the video conference that Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak held today, these issues were particularly pointed out. The fact that there are this much applications and interest shows how high the level of interest in Turkish economy is.
It is certainly very important for us that two such strong economies of the Eurozone as Germany and France have expressed their intention to take a step for this issue. We can consider this as an opportunity to further improve our already good trade relations with these two countries in the days ahead. We see this as an opportunity.
I have already said that the statements made and the stance as well as some political steps taken by the Trump administration regarding the issue have triggered a disturbance in Europe, and these were already expressed during these talks. Both the German and the French leaders told Mr. President that this is not the right method and way. We are already in agreement and on the same page regarding these issues, be it the sanctions, trade or tariffs. During this process, we will find opportunity to develop much better and more beautiful relations in different fields with Europe which we already have good relations with. With the help of Allah, we will all together see the tangible results of these efforts in the wake of the meetings to be held by the Minister of Treasury and Finance, and perhaps the Minister of Trade, in the coming days.”