AKP in the lead with 54 percent: PM

AKP in the lead with 54 percent: PM

AKP in the lead with 54 percent: PM

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his Justice and Development Party (AKP) still leads in popularity among the Turkish public, with 54 percent of the vote, according to opinion polls.

Erdoğan, who attended a community inauguration ceremony in the southeastern province of Gaziantep today, commented on the ongoing peace process between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

"Terror didn't bring anything but hostility, hate, hunger and poverty to this country. Diyarbakır couldn't develop as much as Gaziantep due to terror. That is why what we want is not only to make terrorists lay down their arms, we want to shatter terror," he said.

Two points to underline

"The process continues as part of our national unity and brotherhood project. All of our necessary units are working. But I have to underline two very important points here," Erdoğan said.

"First of all, we will decisively continue struggling against terror unless the terror organization lays down its arms. There are people who criticize us for damaging the process by conducting operations against terrorists. As we've seen in Mardin, a policeman recently died in an act of terrorism. If terrorists kill my policemen, we will, of course, continue to conduct counterattacks," he said.

"Secondly, this process is being run for the whole nation. It aims to heal the wounds of 75 million, not only those of one ethnic group. So nobody can say, 'We are the representatives of Kurds,' as there are Kurds who have given their votes to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and there are other Kurds who don't approve of the BDP's politics. They have voted for the AKP, and our party is a party and a government for the entire nation. It compromises everybody. That's why we have said 'One state, one nation, one flag.'”

Erdoğan also expressed, at the end of his speech, condolences for journalist Mehmet Ali Birand, who died Jan. 17, and Professor Toktamış Ateş, who died today.