Turkish prime minister says democracy is antidote to terror

Turkish prime minister says democracy is antidote to terror

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey will not back down from democratic reform and human rights in its struggle against terrorism, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday, adding that Kurdish militants had suffered “significant losses” in a recent military offensive.

Speaking in a monthly address to the nation, Erdoğan pledged “more justice, more democracy and more freedoms” for the country’s citizens. “More democracy is the antidote to terror. The solution to terror lies in insisting on human rights, justice and freedoms,” he said.

“The [terrorists’] dirty calculations will fail, and those who expect gains from terror will not succeed,” Erdoğan said.

“We are taking all measures in order to prevent the propaganda of terror and to leave the terrorist organization without oxygen,” Erdoğan said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“An air-backed ground operation that is carried out at home and across the border, primarily in Çukurca [a district in the eastern province of Hakkari] and its vicinity, is achieving its objective. The terrorist organization is being dealt significant losses,” he said.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, killed 24 soldiers in simultaneous attacks earlier this month in the border district, prompting a massive military response.

Erdoğan also said a planned new constitution was of “vital importance” to boosting democratic development.

“God willing, we will draw up the constitution with the widest participation possible and pass another important stage to crowning change in Turkey,” he said.