Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Justice and Development (AK) Party launched a new era in Türkiye two decades ago.
"Exactly 21 years ago, on August 14, we shared the good news of the founding of the AK Party with our nation, saying: 'Nothing will be the same in Türkiye anymore'," Erdogan told an event on Monday to mark the founding anniversary of the party.
Founded on August 14, 2001, the party burst onto the political scene under the leadership of Erdogan, who became the prime minister in 2003 and has served as the president since 2014.
The party swept to power in the November 3, 2002 elections, capturing two-thirds of the seats in parliament — the first party in more than a decade to win an outright majority.
"By stepping into the political scene 21 years ago, the AK Party started a new era in Türkiye and saved this country from the abyss," Erdogan said.
Erdogan also said he hoped that the party will "crown this blessed struggle" by winning the 2023 elections, and added that there is a lot more to do in the country.
"Türkiye is building its 2023 vision not to complete its deficiencies in democracy and development, but to be among the biggest in the world with its politics and economy," he added.
Defending national interest
Speaking at a meeting of the AK Party’s provincial heads in the capital Ankara, the country’s president said that Türkiye defends its national interests and achieves results with “effective diplomacy”.
"Today, there is a Türkiye that fearlessly defends its national interests on all grounds, including at the UN and NATO, and gets results with its effective diplomacy," Erdogan said.
Erdogan added that Türkiye has strengthened its foreign policy, and gained prestige and self-confidence.
Türkiye, with its strong army, has conducted anti-terror operations to defend its national security "without seeking anyone's approval", he said, adding that in the last 21 years, Türkiye has become a "more democratic and freer" country that has equal opportunities for the citizens.
The AK Party has marked resounding election wins since its founding.