Turkey no longer has a Kurdish problem, and what currently remains to be addressed are the problems of individual Kurdish citizens, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday during a rally at a central square in the eastern city of Muş.
Erdoğan has been holding rallies in various cities of the East and the Southeast as part of his election campaign. In the Muş rally on Saturday, tens of thousands showed up to hear Erdoğan, the prime minister and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). His speech in this Kurdish-dominated city included harsh criticism of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its jailed leader Abdulah Öcalan.
He criticized the BDP, one of whose members earlier referred to Öcalan as “the Kurdish prophet,” saying: “We don’t have anything to do with those who declare Apo [how most people in Turkey refer to Öcalan] a prophet. We will be together with you against those who cheat my Kurdish brothers and sisters. We will give them the appropriate response at the ballot box.”
Erdoğan criticized the separatist PKK and the BDP, saying: “We can’t get anywhere with those who try to set one brother against another. We can’t get anywhere with those who are trying to divide this country. We can’t get our country up on its feet with the separatist terrorist organization [PKK]. We can’t get anywhere with those who try to undermine the democratic will of the people.
He recalled in his speech that the last time he had visited Muş was on Dec. 18, 2010, when he attended the opening ceremony for 106 different public facilities. He said he has visited Muş eight times since 2002, when the AK Party was first elected to power.
“This land is our land. This is our motherland. There is no discrimination, no separatism. We are one, and we are together. We will be one, we will be united, we will be big and fresh. We are like the teeth of a comb. We are like nail and cuticle. We are not friends or relatives; we are eternal brothers. We are as much as brothers as the Euphrates and the Tigris. We are as brothers as the Süphan and Ağrı [Mountains] are. We are as inseparable as the sky and the earth. Whoever says the opposite, you should know, denies history, murders truth and denies himself.”
Erdoğan said the services provided to Muş under the AK Party government had restored the city’s pride. “We are not after votes; we are not like those who become democratic all of a sudden, who suddenly remember Muş when elections are around the corner. … The pain and troubles of this region have always been our pains, too. We feel like we lost a part of our selves every time someone here died. Every tear shed in this region seeped into our hearts, conscience and soul. As weapons spoke, as bullets flew in the air, as young men died up in the mountains, our hearts burned. We have been fighting to end this pain for the past eight-and-a-half years.”
“There is no longer a Kurdish question in this country. I do not accept this. There are problems of my Kurdish brothers, but no longer a Kurdish question. …. Tayyip Erdoğan is not your master, he is your servant.” He criticized the BDP for exploiting religion, as that party has recently been calling on its supporters to refuse to pray behind imams appointed by the Turkish state during Friday prayers. He said, referring to BDP politicians: “Now they are saying, ‘Don’t pray behind a state imam.’ There are people praying here, and then those who listen to the terrorist organization [PKK] go to pray somewhere else. This is separatism. We have nothing to do with those who declare Apo a prophet. We will stand together against those who try to deceive my Kurdish brothers.”
Religious specialization center in Diyarbakır
Head of the Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez on Saturday announced that the directorate had plans to set up a Supreme Religious Specialization Center in Diyarbakır.
He said Turkey’s Kurdish problem could not be solved by talking about brotherhood but only by “the law of brotherhood.” Görmez said: “Saying we are brothers doesn’t solve the problem. We need to emphasize the law of brotherhood. I mean there is an ethical obligation we have to each other based in our brotherhood in religion. Both they and we know that we are brothers; there is no need to declare that.”
Görmez said a State Waterworks Authority (DSİ) building that is no longer used by the agency would host the center. He said they hoped to open the center soon.