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January 16, 2013, Wednesday

Language needed for peace

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan got a thumbs up for his parliamentary speech on Tuesday, when he warned against any provocations designed to harm his government's initiative to resolve the terrorism issue by meeting with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) leader and said: “Regardless of whom bullets are fired at, it is always the mothers who end up crying.

We will not let mothers cry anymore.”

Referring to Erdoğan's remarks: “We won't take a step back even if we are left alone [in this peace process]. We will eliminate guns and clenched fists,” and then his call for people not to make mothers cry, Eyüp Can from Radikal says some may find Erdoğan's statements, and his plea regarding mothers in particular, common and not pay attention, but in fact this appeal is a key statement that we should keep in mind during the peace process. “It doesn't matter whether one is from PKK or he is a soldier in the Turkish army. Either way, mothers and families suffer excessive pain when he dies,” Can says. He then mentions a meeting recently held by several civil society organizations in Van to show their support for the peace talks. Many important things were said during the meeting, but one photo says more than any formal statement or message, the columnist notes. That's the photo of Rukiye Aslan, who lost her three sons, members of the PKK, and who is also the head of the Mothers for Peace initiative, sitting next to Ahmet Baki, the chairman of the Martyrs and Veterans' Families Association. “They were not only sitting together at the same table, but they were also making the same call -- the call for peace. Aslan spoke in Kurdish and Baki spoke in Turkish, but they said the same things, just as they feel the same things,” Can writes.

Hasan Cemal from the Milliyet daily also says that what Erdoğan said was not new, but as long as he uses constructive language and talks about peace, his statements are worth highlighting. Erdoğan said during his speech that not only Kurds in Diyarbakır were subjected to torture in the past because of their Kurdish ethnicity, but also many people in the rest of the country were jailed, tortured and even killed because of their religious identity or ideology; newspapers, magazines and political parties were closed down due to their ideology and people were fired from their jobs because their wives wore a headscarf. These people were unfairly and even brutally treated in their home country, too, though none of them ever took up arms or created anarchy in response, the prime minister said. Cemal welcomes these remarks, saying if we are ever going to see peace in these territories, it will be achieved thanks to language full of empathy.

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