ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM PRESIDENT
By Aynur Ekiz
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has taken a giant leap in establishing democracy and building the country’s economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
"We see service to justice and the nation as our only duty," Erdogan said, speaking at a reception in Ankara to mark the 18th anniversary of the party’s foundation.
He stressed that the party is determined to continue serving the country.
"Our greatest strength is our belief in our cause and our human capital," he said.
Erdogan said the party’s 18-year history as well as his 17 years in power had passed not only with the carrying out of duties but also with fighting against different forces.
Compared to the past, it is much more difficult and costly to "set a trap" and "play games" against Turkey, he said, hailing the country's current level of democracy, economy, diplomacy, security and self-confidence.
Erdogan said the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would continue to work together.
"We will endeavor to keep the People's Alliance alive and upright," he said.
The ruling party and MHP formed the People's Alliance ahead of the 2018 general elections.
Erdogan said the two parties have successfully maintained the alliance, which was built by the Turkish nation on the streets during the night of the July 15 deadly coup attempt and has gone through the popular vote, elections and thwarted the traps set up against the country.
The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.