Deputy PM Says Ankara Will ‘Return to Democratic Agenda After Ending Terror’
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will return to a “reform” agenda after ending its campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in eastern and southeastern Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has vowed.
“Terrorism and the fight against terrorism are transient. They need to be finished as soon as possible and a process of democratization should be accomplished. We will have to deal with the consequences if we fail to see the larger picture,” Kurtulmuş told reporters over the weekend.
“We need to remove this period so Turkey can continue on its path. We should bravely take reformist steps and help the prosperity of our people in the southeast,” he added.
A majority of Turkish citizens support the security forces’ ongoing operations but they also want the activities of the PKK to be neutralized as soon as possible, Kurtulmuş stated.
Citing a decision taken at cabinet last week, the deputy prime minister also said Ankara will move to assist locals who have been badly affected by the current violence after the conclusion of operations.
“I hope a master plan will be adopted in the next cabinet meeting for the removal of the existing atmosphere in the region. Another significant step will be works for the re-construction of these damaged cities,” he added.
New peace process signaled
Kurtulmuş also signaled that the government would launch a new “National Unity and Fraternity Process,” a title often used by government officials when referring to the process to find a peaceful solution to Turkey’s long-running Kurdish problem.
“With God’s permission, steps in the ‘National Unity and Fraternity Process’ will be taken. A process speaking the language of law will surely begin after the terrorist organization is fully defeated. Reformist steps will be taken,” he said.
‘Terror in Turkey a consequence of Syria’
Meanwhile, Kurtulmuş claimed that the rise in the PKK’s activities and the recent suicide bombing attacks carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are by-products of ongoing proxy wars in Syria. He pointed the finger at anonymous circles who want to limit Turkish influence in shaping the future of the Middle East as being these attacks.
“We would not face such a strong PKK resistance town by town if there were no such developments in northern Syria,” he said, referring to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) consolidation of power across the border in recent years.
“This is a difficult process, but we want everybody to adopt at least a common language and understanding against terror. We also call on our friends and allies to stand with Turkey in the face of systematic terrorist attacks,” Kurtulmuş added.
On the academics under investigation over a joint declaration calling on the government to end its operations in the southeast, the deputy prime minister suggested that many of the signatories put their name to the document without reading it.