Speaking on a wide array of issues ranging from the recent alleged use of chemical weapons in Damascus to the surging number of Syrian refugees crossing the border to Turkey, Erdoğan broke into tears at the end of the program when a video was aired in which Beltagy’s letter to his daughter following her death was read.
Erdoğan, who could not speak for a few minutes, said the video reminded him of the difficult days of the late 1990s, when he was banned from politics and sent to prison.
Erdoğan said he could rarely meet with his children during his busy and turbulent political life. He said his daughter one day complained about the situation.
Commenting on the recent alleged use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus, Erdoğan slammed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for perpetrating massacres against his own people.
Noting that more than 100,000 people were killed since the beginning of the uprising against the regime, the Turkish prime minister said the Syrian president is bent on destroying everything in the country.
The regime is slowly destroying the historic sites across the country, Erdoğan said, expressing his frustration and exasperation over the unabated killings perpetrated by the regime as well as the inaction of the international community.
Erdoğan said Turkey now hosts 500,000 Syrian refugees and has spent more than $2 billion to meet the needs of the refugees accommodated in a number of camps across south and southeast Turkey.
Erdoğan also lambasted the Iranian leadership for its unwavering support for the Syrian regime, saying that Tehran didn’t appreciate enough Turkish support for Iran in the international arena just a few years ago.
Emphasizing Turkey’s rejection of any sectarian-based policy, Erdoğan told reporters that he expressed his distaste and disappointment over Iran’s policies in the region to Iranian officials, including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei during his visit to the country.
The Turkish prime minister did not hide his exasperation over the inertia that has engulfed the international community when he vehemently criticized the United Nations for its inability to issue a strong condemnation of the chemical attack, let alone conducting an immediate investigation at the site.
Erdoğan has reiterated his call to other countries across the globe to restructure the UN in an attempt to overcome deadlock on critical global issues, in an implicit reference to the impasse in Syria.
The Turkish prime minister also argued that the simmering political conflict in Egypt could be part of an international plot to detract international attention from enduring atrocities in Syria.
As for the release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Erdoğan said it could have been preplanned following the military coup that toppled Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Morsi.
“It always happens in the same way. We also witnessed it during military coups in our country. It seems the roadmap [for Mubarak’s release] was drawn up by the military junta following the coup,” Erdoğan said.
‘AK Party would get 51 percent of votes if election held today’
As 2014 — an election year with local, parliamentary and presidential elections — nears, polls have been increasingly conducted to measure how many votes political parties in Parliament would get if an election is held today.
Erdoğan said his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would get more than 50 percent of votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections, three different polls show.
He said three different surveys, which were conducted upon request of the ruling party, indicate that AK Party respectively would get 51.4 percent, 51.9 percent and 51.5 percent of votes if an election is held today.
The poll results suggest that, Erdoğan says, his party still has a strong popular mandate despite mounting criticism against his government policies over the past months.