We will silence guns, not people: Minister

We will silence guns, not people: Minister

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
We will silence guns, not people: Minister

Ergün says ‘even the most extreme things’ can be spoken in a democracy. AA photo

Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Nihat Ergün said Turkey aims to end terror without compromising democracy.

“We aim to silence guns, not men,” Ergün said at a conference yesterday. “What we want to do in Turkey is ensure that there is no terror, no guns, no blood. Let the guns be silenced and let everyone else speak, whatever they want. In democracies, even the most extreme things can be demanded,” the minister added.

Ergün’s words came at a time when the government made public dialogue measures between intelligence officials and Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in an effort to stop the decades-old conflict.

The aim of ongoing talks with the PKK is to convince the group’s militants to lay down their arms and abandon Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this month.

On Jan. 26, Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Burhan Kuzu said PKK militants will “possibly” start leaving Turkey in the summer.

“There is a calendar in which the [National Intelligence Organization (MİT)] is involved,” Kuzu said. “Possibly, the process of [militants] going to other countries will start in the summer. So I think we should wait and see.”

Meanwhile, Zübeyir Aydar, a prominent leader in the PKK’s European structure, said the militants would “not leave Turkey without Öcalan saying so.”

Speaking to Rudaw, a Kurdish newspaper released in Europe, Aydar said that Öcalan should be able to speak with PKK leaders.

“Öcalan has to talk with PKK leaders. Ahmet Türk visited Öcalan. Ahmet Türk cannot answer every question by Öcalan. The BDP can do some things, and cannot do some things,” Aydar said.

“Now there is the talk of militants leaving Turkey. We cannot make militants leave without Öcalan himself saying so,” he added.

Meanwhile, the daily Habertürk reported yesterday that Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigative Board (MASAK) will investigate the distribution of assets – believed to be millions of Turkish Liras –owned by the PKK in case the party is dissolved. The daily added that the MASAK has prepared a report that lists how the PKK gathers its income.