Local polls will shape Turkey’s direction: PM Erdoğan
'We go to the polls, which will not only decide mayors but also parties,' PM Erdoğan said during a campaign rally in the southeastern province of Siirt. AA photoThe upcoming municipal elections will shape Turkey’s future direction, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stressing once again that the polls would be a choice between “the old Turkey and the new Turkey.”
“We go to the polls, which will not only decide mayors but also parties,” Erdoğan said during a campaign rally in the southeastern province of Siirt on March 12.
Citing the ongoing peace process that aims to end three-decade-long Kurdish problem, he asked the crowd to “protect the initiative.”
“You wanted this solution process. You have claimed the process for one year. Now I ask you to protect it. In the new Turkey there are no arms, but politics,” Erdoğan said, adding that his government would further strengthen the “brotherhood of 77 million Turkish people” and would take “peace, stability and brotherhood” to a higher level.
“We will not concentrate our energy on fights, but on peace, solutions and development,” he said.
The prime minister also hailed the reforms passed by his Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the Kurdish population. He said that in the “old Turkey” there was assimilation, bans on songs, bans on books, and “mothers were not able to speak to their sons in their mother tongue,” claiming that “an understanding of the state that looks down on its people is ended.”
Erdoğan criticized the Kurdish-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) for not making municipalities work, but making politics of “ideology and tension.”
Meanwhile, he also recited the poem by Ziya Gökalp that had landed him with a four-month prison sentence after he read it in Siirt in the 1990s: “Our minarets are our bayonets / Our domes are our helmets / Our mosques are our barracks / The faithful are our soldiers.”
Erdoğan said he “neither killed anyone nor stole anything” to be put in prison, but added that “that era has ended.”