Gov’t to continue Kurdish initiative, no matter the cost

TURKEY

The government will continue to take every step necessary to achieve success with its recently announced Kurdish initiative, regardless of what the cost may be, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Speaking at his party’s Extended Province Chairmen meeting on the eighth anniversary of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) establishment, Erdoğan criticized the opponents of the Kurdish initiative, mostly the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), accusing them of making political profit from the issue. “We believe in this. We have taken steps and we will continue to do so, no matter what price we might have to pay,” he said.

Erdoğan said the AK Party would never open discussions on Turkey’s unity, territorial integrity or brotherhood, adding: “The people we talk to are the 71.5 million citizens of Turkey. We know of no people to talk to other than the citizens of our noble nation.” He said Turkey has wasted its energy and resources on the separatist violence created by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) 25 years ago.

“If Turkey had been able to find a solution to that plague we call terrorism, which has devoured our young men like a monster … it [Turkey] would be standing in a very different place right now,” he noted.

“Now we are saying that Turkey has to confront the problem. Turkey has to permanently solve this problem,” the prime minister said. He called on party delegates to read the party’s platform, where it can be seen that since its founding, the AK Party has been committed to solving the Kurdish question.

“Our nation also wants this. … Those who are exploiting this matter, those who want to make personal profit out of this and those who believe they can deal blows to the AK Party by exploiting this [issue] are trying to block this. This is what is going on, but we will not pay attention to any of that. We believe in this. We have taken steps, and we will continue to, no matter what price we might have to pay,” Erdoğan said.

The prime minister also said he did not want to allow the Kurdish issue to be subject to useless political rhetoric and conflict. He said both the CHP and the MHP had voiced opposition without even being fully informed of the details of what will be included in the Kurdish initiative. “Weren’t they saying they were happy to compromise for the good of the country? Accept this, first sit down and talk and then tell us, ‘No, we won’t be part of this.’ But they haven’t even done that,” he said.

Both the CHP and the MHP have rejected a request from Interior Minister Beşir Atalay — who is currently meeting with political party, civil society and trade union representatives to hear their suggestions on the Kurdish question — to schedule an appointment to discuss the initiative.

Erdoğan was particularly harsh in his criticism of MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. “Mr. Bahçeli is in a mood of panic and anxiety. He has addressed us in an ugly fashion with no regard to the rules of etiquette. I leave it to our nation to assess his attitude,” he said

He urged Bahçeli, who recently criticized President Abdullah Gül for using the Kurdish name of a district in southeastern Turkey, to read some books on the history of Turkey. “When Alparslan won the Malazgirt war in 1071, he didn’t change the name of the Malazgirt Plain even though Malazgirt is a word of Armenian origin,” he said. He also gave the examples of the Ottoman Empire’s founders, Etruğrul Gazi and Osman Gazi, and the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, asking Bahçeli, “Are you saying you are more of a patriot than them?”

Still, he called on both opposition parties, once again, to join the process. “Where will we reach consensus if not on this issue? To which issue will you contribute if you won’t contribute to this one? … If this problem could be solved with slogans, it would have been solved a long time ago,” he said.

He also called on “some representatives” of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) to refrain from speeches and behavior that might be considered provocative at this time. “Please refrain from carrying out acts that might damage the general atmosphere of compromise formed throughout the country. I have announced that our intentions are real and sincere. We should treat this as an issue beyond politics; we should act with a sensibility that pays attention to Turkey’s sensitivities,” he added.

He continued: “We want nothing more than to stop the tears of mothers who lose sons to this. All we want is to end the tears shed by fathers. We make the effort for nothing more than strengthening brotherhood … We have no purpose more than loving the creation for the sake of the Creator.”

AK Party anniversary

Erdoğan’s speech yesterday also focused on the AK Party’s eight years in politics.

He started his speech at the AK Party headquarters in the capital by congratulating party members for the transparency they have shown in democratically electing new presidents and board members to regional chapters and the women’s and youth organizations. “I ask God to give us many more years of unity, integrity, peace and brotherhood,” Erdoğan said.

He said he was very happy to see the enthusiasm of the AK Party delegates in all 81 provinces across the country. “God willing, we will hold our big congress on Oct. 3 and renew our enthusiasm once again and focus on the 2011 elections in unity and togetherness after that,” he noted.

Erdoğan continued: “We have come out with victory and as the hope of our nation in the four elections we have run in during the past eight years. We will enter the fifth election with the same spirit and enthusiasm, and with God’s permission, we will come out as the winning party and in this way become a new record-holder in our political history. For this reason, there can be no relaxing, pessimism, exhaustion or fatigue. Our noble nation expects to see more from us.”

He said the AK Party will continue to closely monitor the problems of every province. He said he believed in and trusted the AK Party organization. “Thanks to this establishment, Turkey has broken its shell. Thanks to this establishment, the party has reared up. Thanks to this establishment, Turkey has solved each problem that was said to be irresolvable before. Unarguably, the most dynamic party in our political history has been the AK Party,” he said.

Erdoğan thanked his party’s members and said, “May your path and destiny be open and may God be on your side.”

AK Party strives to reach out to every part of the nation

Erdoğan recalled that he has participated in the opening of many new facilities during recent visits to Trabzon, Rize and Artvin, where crowds gathered to meet him. “The selflessness of our people, even in the dead heat of summer, to come and be with the AK Party clearly shows where we stand today,” he said.

He said that on the eighth anniversary of the party, he was very happy to see that the AK Party had been true to the nation’s support and prayers. “We have put many problems that we and our nation were faced with on track. We showed some firsts to Turkey, introduced new records. We said the owner of the AK party is the nation,” he said.

He said the establishment of the AK Party turned a new leaf in the history of Turkey. “Nothing has been the same in Turkey since the [establishment of] the AK Party. With the AK Party, democracy has been strengthened, and every attempt to thwart democracy has been eliminated,” he said.

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