Terrorism used for manipulating politics, preserving status quo: Turkish PM
'Until today, no one talked about those who earned big sums of money or those who gained strength from terrorism,' Erdoğan said May 4 in his party's gathering in Kızılcahamam, near Ankara. AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made another blistering accusation against the opposition on May 4, arguing that the parties who were against the ongoing peace process had in the past used terrorism and conspired to perpetuate the Kurdish conflict for their own political interest. “Terrorism was never only terrorism. They showed people its bloody side. But they have tried to manipulate politics and redesign the society through terrorism. Now we are saying stop,” said Erdoğan during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s consultation gathering in Kızılcahamam, adding that the government would shed light on the plot manipulating terrorism, especially during the 90s.
“We have bottled up some dark spots just for now in order to not ruin the peaceful atmosphere of the country… [After the process] we will talk about the causes of terrorism, the black holes, we will search to bring answers for questions marks. Until today, no one talked about those who earned big sums of money or those who gained strength from terrorism.”
Murat Karayılan, a senior leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said during a press conference held at the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq on April 25 that the PKK would start a withdrawal from Turkish soil on May 8. He told Turkish journalists that he expected the process would be completed in autumn at the earliest.
Erdoğan pointed out that Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli, who is at the forefront of the fierce opposition against the process, was himself in the cabinet in 1999 when the coalition government led by former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit was involved in talks with the then recently captured PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan. Archives showed that a withdrawal was underway at the time but was halted after an operation in northern Iraq, Erdoğan said. “500 terrorists were neutralized. The withdrawal process was sabotaged. The government comprising MHP gave the terrorist organization the opportunity to recover. And in 2002 the terrorists entered Turkey again.”
Former president Turgut Özal and former Prime Minister Necemettin Erbakan had their attempts to solve terrorism thwarted by conspiracies, Erdoğan explained, adding that similar plots were now being set against the AKP government. “The only refuge of the status quo is terrorism. The only footing of the status quo parties, the branch that they can hold on to for [not falling], is terrorism,” he said.
The Turkish prime minister also praised the work of the Wise Persons Commissions tasked with seeking public support for the process, arguing that in one month the support level had significantly grown. “In our surveys, support for the peace process has increased from 58 percent to 70 percent. Our citizens who vote MHP and CHP [Republican People’s Party] support the process with 40-50 percent. Most importantly, the families of the slain soldiers want the process to be successful,” he said, adding that the Central Anatolia subgroup had requested a meeting with the main opposition CHP leader. “Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has refused. They only thing that they understand are quarrels,” he added.
Taksim square likely to be closed to meetings
Erdoğan also addressed the controversial debate about the use of Istanbul’s iconic Taksim square for political meetings, after an eventful May Day which saw a police crackdown on protestors intending to reach the square despite prohibition. This year’s prohibition was justified due to the danger caused by huge construction works on the square; however Erdoğan confirmed that Taksim could become permanently closed to political meetings. Noting that May Day became a public holiday under the AKP government and the prohibition to use Taksim square for meetings was only lifted in 2008, Erdoğan stressed that his position did not have ideological grounds.
“Tomorrow if Taksim is excluded from being a meeting area, there might not be meetings. In that case, you could not say that you will hold a meeting. You will have to do it where it is indicated,” he said.
Criticism of release of May Day demonstrators
Erdoğan also accused the main opposition CHP of provoking the confrontation between the security forces and demonstrators on May Day and criticized the media coverage of the incidents.
“There are also media organizations in the plot that I have told you about. It is evident which side they are on. According to this media the militants carrying slings are flower kids,” Erdoğan said, vigorously defending the police’s crackdown while criticizing the court’s release of 28 people taken into custody on May Day. “If you release those who use Molotov cocktails, it will be harder to fight against terrorism,” he said.