PM says his ruling AKP is Turkey’s most reformist, pro-freedom party
DHA PhotoPrime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose government has been accused of backsliding in democratic reforms and failing to tolerate public protest and critical media, has said his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a pro-freedom and reformist movement that is against all kinds of bans.
“The common characteristic of the CHP [the main opposition Republican People’s Party] and the HDP [the Peoples’ Democratic Party] is the fact they are oppressive and homogenous,” Davutoğlu said on May 29 in a speech at an election rally in the southeastern province of Van.
“Elections are approaching … According to information we have received, they are going to villages and threatening people,” he added.
The ruling AKP government has often said militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are coercing voters in eastern and southeastern Anatolia.
“We have lifted all bans. God willing, during this term, our headscarved sisters will enter parliament. Who lifted emergency rule? Who opened the mountains and meadows to this sacred people?” Davutoğlu said.
“With [the opening of] the TRT Kürdi, we said ‘Kurdish is our language too, just like Turkish it will be our language,’” he said, referring to the state-run Turkish Radio and Television’s (TRT) Kurdish station, TRT-Şeş.
“What matters most is what you say in that language. If you use a language tending towards violence, then no matter which language you speak you are on the wrong path,” said Davutoğlu.
“During the single-party period, the CHP changed the call to prayer to Turkish,” he added. “[HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş] says ‘Doesn’t Allah know Kurdish?’ Well we know the 99 names of Allah. You, the HDP, don’t know our Kurdish citizens’ faith.”
“One of them is ‘White Turk’ and the other one is ‘White Kurd.’ They don’t understand us,” the prime minister said, portraying both the CHP and the HDP as “elites” who are “distant from the people.”