President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a stern warning for any Turkish citizens preparing to protest against his government, as anger rises over soaring inflation and opposition parties step up their criticism of economic policy.
In a televised speech in Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan said supporters of his AK Party and its nationalist ally remained united, and linked their likely response to any protests to the aftermath of an attempted military coup on July 15, 2016.
“Supposedly they’ll take to the streets without any shame,” he said. “Wherever you take to, this nation will teach you a lesson just like it gave a lesson to those who took to the streets on July 15.”
Back then, government supporters battled a section of the military attempting to overthrow Erdogan, with clashes killing more than 250 people.
In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Turkey rounded up tens of thousands of people it accused of having links with Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric who Erdogan says masterminded the plot.