MARDIN – Anatolia News Agency
Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan asks the local Kurdish population to support the peace process during a visit to the southeastern province of Mardin on Feb 16. AA photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
visited the southeastern province of Mardin on Feb. 16, calling on Kurdish-origin citizens for support for the peace process and promising important economic and social development in the region if locally based militants drop their weapons.
“We have come to a point where now it’s your say. It’s your turn to become part of the process. We have made dozens of steps as the government; we are now expecting steps from you, especially from mothers. We expect you to say ‘stop’ and oppose the insidious pressure of terror,” said Erdoğan during a ceremony. Erdoğan also noted that Muammer Güler, who was appointed as interior minister last month, was a native of Mardin.
“War is easy, peace is hard. We aspire for the hard [path]. Arms are the instruments of those who don’t trust their own ideas. We are saying, ‘please bury your arms;’ a society with arms cannot be a society of peace,” he said.
Erdoğan criticized the opposition parties, accusing them of “fomenting racism” or “supporting terrorism.” While acknowledging that there were still issues to be solved, Erdoğan said the policies instituted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the last 10 years had provided a number of social and economic benefits for the town and the region.
The end of terrorism could also help eradicate problems such as unemployment and poverty, he said. “We have to rip the terrorism that stands in the way of growth, progress, solutions and especially fraternity, away from Turkey. We will do it together.”
Erdoğan also said 568 students were attending the “Living Languages Institute” of Mardin Artuklu University, which was established under the AKP government. Some 500 of the students from the program will give Kurdish lessons in optional Kurdish languages courses that are offered at high schools nationwide, he added.