President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday sought support in the June 24 early elections in order to execute Turkey's long-term plans.
Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's rally in southern Isparta province, Erdogan said the upcoming elections are “the most important elections” in the country’s history.
“We will either take our 16-year achievements much higher [levels] or allow the ‘demolition alliance’ [the opposition] to spoil all these," he said.
For the first time in Turkish political history, political parties will go to election after forming alliances.
Turkey’s ruling AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will enter the race as the People's Alliance.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), newly-formed Good (IYI) Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party and Democrat Party (DP) will participate as the Nation Alliance.
Criticizing his rivals’ election promises, Erdogan said: “We will never allow ‘demolition alliance’ [opposition] to prevent us and to sabotage our projects."
In a televised speech on Friday, CHP presidential candidate Muharrem Ince pledged to stop Turkey's massive Canal Istanbul Project and not to continue domestic car productions, if elected.
“I am expecting from you very strong support for Turkey’s bright future,” Erdogan told locals.
Later speaking in northwestern Balikesir province, Erdogan rejected Ince's claim that Turkey had not properly requested the extradition of U.S.-based Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen to Turkey.
On Thursday, Ince claimed on a TV channel that he received a phone call from the U.S. saying Turkey had failed to duly request the extradition of Gulen.
"If you [Ince] are honest and sincere, consult with MIT [Turkish Intelligence Agency]. Tell them who gave this information to you, America or American authorities," Erdogan said.
"They want to govern Turkey but they run an election campaign using news stories they found on internet with full of lies and libels. They call 85 dossiers related to FETO that we gave to America as newspaper clippings," Erdogan said.
He added that the newspaper clippings that Ince mentioned as well as all official reports prepared by the Turkish Justice Ministry had been included in the dossiers.
Turkey has never abandoned unity, togetherness, and brotherhood despite attacks from inside and outside of the country, Erdogan said, referring to FETO, PKK, and Daesh terror groups.
He announced that Turkey has neutralized 4,480 terrorists in Syria’s Afrin since the launch of Operation Olive Branch.
Erdogan also noted that anti-terror operations also neutralized 419 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq and 405 terrorists inside the country.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Erdogan is expected to hold rallies in 30 provinces during his election campaign.
Last April, the parliament passed a bill for early elections on June 24, cementing Turkey’s move to a presidential system.
In the April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters had approved the switch from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.
Erdogan has served as president since 2014 — Turkey's first popularly elected president. Before that, he served as prime minister, from 2003 to 2014.
Should he win the June 24 election, Erdogan would be Turkey's first leader under the presidential system, doing away with the prime minister's post, among other changes.