Erdoğan ‘stands against all kinds of nationalism’
Visiting Syrians fled their country to Turkey’s southern Gaziantep province due to rising violence, PM Erdoğan (L) holds talk with a refugee at camps.In a bid to stress his rejection of all ethnic nationalist approaches, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that he did not recognize a “Kurdish problem,” but rather “his Kurdish brother’s problem.”
In a speech delivered in the Nizip district of the southern province of Gaziantep on Sunday, Erdoğan refused to make any kind of discriminations, saying that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) motto had always been “being one, together, great and alive under the roof of citizenship of the Republic of Turkey.”
“We said ‘one nation, one flag and one homeland,’” Erdoğan said, underlining that they would not allow any attempts to redesign the country.
“They keep on saying one thing: ‘Kurdish problem.’ I don’t recognize such a thing called a ‘Kurdish problem.’ Yes to my Kurdish brother’s problem, but no to ‘Kurdism,’” he said.
The prime minister’s remarks seemed to be directed at concerns among the AKP’s grassroots about the process to end the three-decade long conflict between Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We are the insurance of unity, togetherness and solidarity in this country,” Erdoğan said. “Those pretending to be neo-nationalistic in this country tried to block our way, they couldn’t and they will not be able to do so.”
Erdoğan directly touched upon the “resolution process” in the speech, while listing the sine qua none elements of the process in order for it to lead to success.
“Let the terror organization put an end to actions, withdraw abroad, and lay down its arms. We will give our best support for this,” he said.
“We are getting all of our institutions to work [for a solution],” Erdoğan added. “But as long as the terror organization does not lay down its arms and does not put an end to its attacks, we will continue the fight against terror with determination and without concessions.”
In an apparent effort to display that the government’s policies have been backed by people, Erdoğan stressed the percentage of votes that his party is expected to get.
“Since the [first] election we entered on Nov. 3, 2002, we have been arguing the same thing: Nobody can come up and say ‘We are the representatives of the Kurds.’ In this country, the percentage of votes gained by the party that is an extension of the terror organization - the party that makes policies on the basis of ethnic identity - is obvious,” he said, referring to the Kurdish-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
“It is our party that comes first in seven geographical regions of Turkey. It is our party that received one in every two votes in Turkey ... Here is the last public opinion survey; AK Party [AKP] is the first again with 54 percent. And this is not even a public opinion survey that I ordered to be conducted,” Erdoğan said.