Responding to questions from the press on the issue of holding talks with the imprisoned leader of the PKK, the attack on Çukurca and the process of ensuring the terrorist organization drop their weapons, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan delivered the following messages:
'WE ARE SINCERE'
(Commenting on the recent PKK attack of a gendarmerie outpost in Çukurca) "These sorts of provocations from the separatist terrorist organization are not new. Whenever any attempts at peace talks have been made, the terrorist organization tends to respond negatively. This was just one of those provocative attacks we have now become accustomed to. When it comes to military operations, we will be continuing our fight against the terrorist organization. However, at the same time we say, we can also hold negotiations with its political offshoot. We are at that very same point now. Our sincerity on the matter is evident by the recent steps we have taken."
(On sending PKK operatives to a third-party country) "We will assess the situation when we return to Turkey. As for how and how many of the PKK cadre will withdraw from Turkey, it needs to be based entirely on the condition that they lay down their weapons. Everyone needs to pay heed to this issue, because our concern is for our peoples' harmony and happiness."
(On Syria's release of captives) "With the aid of Qatar and Turkey, a Turkish NGO was able to initiate this process. Amongst the prisoners released were four Turks and a number of Palestinians. I cannot say what sort of developments will follow, however we continued our deliberations with the opposition wing. They seemed prepared, yet it was unclear how the Syrian administration would respond. At present, Syria has accepted releasing 2,130 captives. Our hope is that the many innocent and aggrieved people being held in Syrian prisons will be freed. This is a process that should be commended."
(On his visit to Niger) "There is a huge river that flows here. It is important that dams and hydroelectric stations are constructed. Even though they have water, they are faced with challenges when it comes to potable and irrigation water. There are also residential issues. Residences could be built along the river with 20-year payment terms.
There also needs to be collaborative efforts in education. I believe that through this solidarity, the future between Turkey and Niger will grow stronger. Africa should no longer be perceived as being an exploited region. The imperial forces in Africa should rightfully return what they took away. If they are unable to do so then history itself will hold them accountable. And we, as Turkey, will continue to give all of the support that we can."
After relaying greetings and an invitation to Turkey extended by President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan flew on to Senegal where he was greeted by the President of Senegal Macky Sall as well as Turkey's Ambassador to Dakar Sibel Algan.
This is a translation of an article originally written by Yahya Bostan.
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