President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday slammed speculators in the agricultural sector and vowed to continue supporting consumers and farmers.
Speaking to farmers from across the country, Erdogan said: "If we turn these farmlands into concrete, it will be betrayal to the homeland and to the nation."
"As of now, we have 258 farmlands as protected areas, soon we will increase this number to 300," he went on to say.
Erdogan said Turkey considers speculators in the agriculture sector as a national security threat just like the terror groups at the country's borders.
"We will not let anyone target the labor of our farmers and the food on table of our people," he said.
Erdogan praised the honesty of Turkish farmers in repaying their bank loans.
"Loan repayment rate of our farmers is at 98.99 percent; our farmers are honest."
Erdogan said that by the end of this month Turkey would have supported its farmers and producers with $2 billion.
He added that one of the goals of Turkey's national agricultural policies is to reduce imports and increase exports by planned production initiatives.
Slamming PKK terror attacks on dams, he said Turkey is determined to protect its farmlands for agriculture and livestock.
"We will never allow terror groups to achieve their goals," he concluded.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, it has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children./aa