If women want, fight will end, says Turkish PM Erdoğan
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Each savage who attempts to conduct violence against women will be condemned by society and, he will serve his penalty within the law,’ the PM says. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appealed to women, especially mothers, to lend their support to the resolution of Turkey’s Kurdish issue, proclaiming that women’s input was necessary for the eventual success of the process.
At a March 6 assembly of female Turkish Metal Union workers, Erdoğan said the government no longer wanted to see mothers fearfully waiting for the return of their sons from mandatory military service, nor did they want to see mothers worried about their sons trapped within the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“If all the women of this country say ‘stop’ to terror, then terror will end,” he said, appealing to women to pray the resolution process is a success.
“If all the women of this country say ‘[let’s put an] end to mourning for [our] children,’ then this grave news will be over. If mothers hold on to their children and take back their children from the hands of terror, then believe me, this bloodshed and these tears will end. No country where mothers cry and women suffer can be a happy and prosperous country. Believe me, Turkey will turn into a quite different place if we stop the tears of those mothers and women,” he said.
Since the PKK took up arms against the state in 1984, more than 40,000 people have been killed in conflict. This figure includes civilians, national security forces, PKK members and village guards operating in towns and villages in eastern and southeastern Turkey where PKK fighters are most active.
“We have opened a blank page. We have ended discrimination, refusal, denial and assimilation. We have taken hundreds of steps in order to compensate for wrongdoings made in the past,” Erdoğan said. The prime minister indicated that the process, which aims to put an end to ongoing conflict between security forces and the PKK, is like a “tabula rasa” for the country.
“Even if we do not have anybody next to us, we will continue this struggle for [the nation’s] mothers. We will continue this effort for all women, all mothers, all spouses and all children despite provocations, sabotage and obstacles,” he said.
‘Violence has lessened, but is still visible’
Erdoğan also vowed to uphold a policy of no tolerance for violence against women. “The violence which was not known in the past has [now] become visible,” he said in response to claims that violence against women had increased during the AKP’s term.
The government paved the way for affirmative action toward women through a constitutional amendment, Erdoğan said.
“No matter whom it targets, we condemn and damn all kinds of violence,” he said. “Public opinion and media have become more sensitive to violence against women. Violence has begun to decrease thanks to both legal arrangements and sensitivity. As long as this sensitivity prevails, each savage who attempts to conduct violence against women will be condemned by society and at the same time, he will serve his penalty within the framework of the law,” he said, while listing steps that had been taken in favor of women’s rights since the AKP came to power in 2002.