President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at a mass rally against terrorism in Istanbul, sent a very clear message. He told the masses, "On Nov. 1 [parliamentary elections] I want you to make a historical decision; I want you to make a historical effort. I hope this noble nation will vote without listening to threats. I want you to send 550 homegrown, national deputies to Parliament who will work with their heart and soul for this country irrespective of which party they are affiliated with."
There was no party bias, no partiality and no Turkish nationalistic tones in this appeal to the voters. People with ulterior motives have once again slated this address claiming Erdoğan was making anti-Kurdish statements, was biased against the Kurds and, above all, was interfering in the parliamentary political process.
Erdoğan is very clear. He said "irrespective of the party they are affiliated with," which means these people can be deputies from the Kurdish nationalist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) provided that they act like loyal citizens of the Turkish Republic, serve the country in the best way they see fit and do not toe the line of the PKK, which has resumed its terrorist activities in our eastern and southeastern provinces.
Erdoğan feels let down by the Kurdish political movement which has refused to turn its back on terrorism and has fallen in line with the secessionist actions of the PKK. Erdoğan put his own political career and his popularity with the masses on the line when he launched the peace and reconciliation process with the Kurds. However, he now realizes that the PKK used this process to further their cause of laying the groundwork for secession instead of helping the militant Kurds give up violence and ease into civil society. The HDP crowd in Parliament and knowingly or unknowingly went along with the PKK and disappointed Erdoğan and his administration. The HDP people, instead of making moves to better integrate the eastern and southeastern provinces into the rest of the country, seemed to help the PKK in its secessionist acts by promoting the creation of "autonomous" regions in the eastern and southeastern provinces and thus dividing the country. This cannot be accepted.
Erdoğan wants the HDP to display actions that show they cherish Turkey's national unity, solidarity and territorial integrity and refuse Kurdish secession. Is he asking for too much?
On the other hand, Erdoğan also wants the left-wing Republican People's Party (CHP) and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to act more responsibly in Parliament especially regarding national causes. That is also a valid request. We have seen in the past the CHP and MHP take completely opposite positions on vital national issues that has not only embarrassed the government but has sent conflicting signals to our adversaries in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere.
Of course while the president is justified in asking the CHP and MHP to act more responsibly it is also a valid argument that the government should inform the opposition of vital national issues much better in the future and frequently use its ministers and bureaucrats to brief the opposition on secret matters.
The remarks of the president should be read in this context. Trying to twist his remarks and create a native atmosphere is unnecessary and counterproductive.
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