Turkish PM calls on Reyhanlı locals to resist ‘provocations’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Prime Minister said the opposition was “trying to cause provocations over the Reyhanlı incident” and called on the people to keep their calm. AA photoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the people of Reyhanlı, the site of deadly twin bomb attacks on May 11 that killed 51, should remain calm in the face of “the sectarian provocations of the opposition.”
“We are the grandchildren of a muhajirun [refugee] generation, but at the same time we are the grandchildren of an ‘ansar’ [helper] generation. Don’t forget, at the moment, my siblings in Reyhanlı should serve as ansar to the muhajirun who fled from the brutality of [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad. They should fulfill the same duty, they should also open their houses exactly like it happened at the time; and they should not see them [the refugees] as a criminal element against themselves; and they should know that a very serious danger lies behind this plot,” Erdoğan said May 24, a day before his visit to Reyhanlı, which will be his first visit to the town following the attacks.
Using references from the history of Islam in a speech delivered at an expanded meeting of provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdoğan said Islam required being helpful to Syrian refugees. “At the moment, if our siblings who came from Syria [to Reyhanlı] are living in fear in their houses and if they are not able to leave their houses, then I and my siblings in Reyhanlı should take a thorough look at themselves.”
Erdoğan said the opposition was “trying to cause provocations over the Reyhanlı incident” and called on the people to keep calm. “Do not fall for the opposition’s attempts at sectarian provocation. We have 300,000 refugees in our country,” Erdoğan said, adding that people should not blame refugees for the incident. Local reaction against the high number of refugees has been harsh following the incident and many Syrian refugees have been leaving Turkey.
Assad criticism for CHP
Directing his criticism mainly to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for their Syria policy and recalling that the CHP sent parliamentary delegations to meet al-Assad, Erdoğan said they had documents proving that the CHP delegation’s guides during their Syria trips were involved in the Reyhanlı attacks.
Recalling that the Wise Persons’ Commission tasked with gaining public support to the ongoing peace process has been working for one and a half months, Erdoğan said the group would finalize their work in around half a month before preparing a final report on the issue.