Newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said there is only one success story in the Middle East and that is the reconciliation process which has made a remarkable progress amidst the turmoil Turkey's neigbouring countries are going through.
Davutoğlu met with chief editors of media outlets in his office in Dolmabahçe district on Saturday to discuss couple of issues that top the agenda of the country. Davutoğlu touching upon the ongoing ethnicity conflicts that are happening in Iraq and Syria, said the reconciliation process which aims to end decades long conflict between the government and PKK has been continuing without any obstructions despite efforts to sabotage the process. Davutoğlu, deeming the process as the only success story in the Middle East added that Turkey made great strides in healthily carrying out the process.
He continued by saying that AK Party was the only ruling party in the region which paved the path of a country in which every section of Turkish geography lived in peace with each other. "If Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Iraq followed a democratic policy like us, things would have been different" Davutoğlu added.
"The process is one of the most significant problems of the last 60 years of Turkey. There should be a bond between the history and the concept of citizenship. If the state bans the headscarf although its society is known with its Muslim identity in its history or tortures people at Diyarbakır prison solely due to their Kurdish identities those groups detach themselves from the state and a psychological break occurs. Once some international and national circles begin manipulating them, terrorism emerges. We, as the AK Party, try to eliminate that period of rupture" Davutoğlu said.
He also added that the Dağlıca ambush which took place in Dağlıca, Hakkari province, on Oct. 21, 2007 in which 12 soldiers were killed and eight soldiers were captured by PKK, was what deterred him to go back to his post as an academician. He said "that was when we analyzed the ambush will result in a Turkish-Kurdish conflict to intensify in the upcoming days."
"Everyone would have laughed at us then if we said Recep Tayyip Erdoğan [current President of Turkey] and Massoud Barzani [Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government President] would adress the public holding hands. This is how far we came, this is reconciliation process" Davutoğlu further stated.
Davutoğlu also touched upon the attempts made to cripple the process, giving the allegations against Turkish National Intelligence (MİT) head Hakan Fidan as an example.
Fidan faced an arrest attempt on Feb. 7, 2012 in an operation against him allegedly carried out by officials linked with Gülen movement as he was holding talks with the PKK for the reconciliation process between Ankara and the Kurds.
"Some MİT officials' infiltration into PKK was tried to be portrayed as 'chairing' PKK" Davutoğlu said.
Responding to one of the questions of the participants asking when the government will discuss the issues concerning demands of the Kurdish movement such as acquiring political and regional autonomy and how much of it can be ensured by the government, Davutoğlu said: " Things have rapidly been changing. What could not even be uttered once can be freely discussed now. The fear that the country will be divided did not come true. Right now, we don't see any necessity to change the regulation regarding national education. A vast quota was spared for Kurdish teachers. Education in Kurdish does not pose a problem. The next step towards the process will be carried out with more ease in my opinion" said Davutoğlu.
The Ministry of Education appointed teachers for Kurdish lessons in public schools in an unprecedented move for Turkey where the Kurdish community's demands for the right to learn Kurdish freely was stifled in the past.
Davutoğlu concluded his speech by saying there is no turning back from their reconciliation efforts, underlining that the country paid a price to achieve the progress and will not let any provocations jeopardize it.