All of Turkey’s parties and nongovernmental organizations should unite against terrorism just like Spain did against ETA, which declared an end to a half-century of armed struggle for a separate Basque state on Oct. 21, Turkey’s prime minister has said.
“My dear friend Spanish Prime Minister [Jose Luis Rodrigues] Zapatero said in his statement that this was an achievement made possible by the joint stance of the ruling and opposition parties,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the Hak-İş Trade Union Confederation’s annual convention on Oct. 21, in reference to the outlawed Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA) group. “Therefore I call on all our political parties and nongovernmental organizations: Let’s take steps together to produce a common mind to solve this problem. If we fail to do so, this process could last longer.”
Erdoğan’s call came on the second day of the military’s cross-border incursion into northern Iraq in retaliation for an Oct. 19 raid by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) that killed 24 troops and injured 18 in the eastern province of Hakkari. The attack was one of the deadliest launched by the group in close to two decades.
Despite massive calls from the public and the media, political parties are still failing to find the common ground needed to end Turkey’s terror problem, Erdoğan said, noting that they instead continue to criticize each other’s policies in the strongest possible terms.
A delegation from 13 different NGOs and professional organizations, including the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), paid visits to party leaders, including Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, to both express support and make a call for unity. “It’s the day to act in unity for a strong and peaceful Turkey,” TOBB’s head Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu told reporters Oct. 21.
‘Disturbing approach from the CHP’
“This is not the day to shout slogans, it’s not a day for hostility. We are such a nation that can keep its calmness and find common sense even at very difficult times,” Erdoğan said during a speech in which he criticized opposition parties and European countries for their attitude to the fight against terror.
Erdoğan said the most disturbing approach came from the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who invited him to resign due to his supposed inability to solve the terror problem.
“What would you do instead if we resigned? This is not a coalition government. We received every other vote in the general elections. Calling on us to resign only means that you have acknowledged the power of the terror organization,” Erdoğan said.
Criticizing CHP spokespersons for targeting the ruling party instead of the PKK, Erdoğan said: “This issue requires a solution. Please do not try to turn this into opportunism. This problem is very difficult and complicated and has foreign policy, security, socio-economic and psychological dimensions.”
Erdoğan also slammed the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is primarily focused on the Kurdish issue, for not putting distance between itself and the PKK. “This nation will never forget those who have not denounced such brutal terror acts.”
The prime minister also repeated his earlier statements expressing the country’s determination in eliminating the outlawed group. Thanking media representatives for the sensitivity they showed during a recent meeting, Erdoğan repeated his call to the media to do their best in unmasking the ugly face of the terrorists.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.