Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party at a parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, during which he delivered a series of significant messages on the government's determination to further the ongoing resolution process.
Prime Minister Erdoğan said that an overnight solution to the issue of terrorism, which has prevailed in the nation for three decades, was impossible and added that all sides in this struggle need to remain patient and act with restraint.
Erdoğan pointed out that it was impossible to talk about peace and reaching a solution in the presence of terrorism, weapons and violence, adding, "We say, let's silence the weapons and put an end to terrorism and violence, then we can discuss our views and proposals towards a solution."
Erdoğan also mentioned the opposition the government has been faced with by parties such as the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in their efforts to build dams and said they are obliged to forge ahead with these projects in order to ensure the nation overcomes the greatest threat in the future of water shortage.
"I wonder if this allergy to the building of military outposts and dams isn't in some way connected to drug trafficking and smuggling," asked Erdogan adding that any attempts to disguise this dirty and poisonous trade with protests seemingly aimed to seek rights and democratic demands is at the very least immoral and unjust," said Erdogan inferring that those who attempted to deliver a message through what transpired in Lice should realize that Diyarbakır did not fall for this dangerous game.
Lice incident indirectly connected to drug trade
Last Wednesday, Turkish security forces launched a wide range air supported anti-illicit drugs operation in the town of Lice located in Turkey's southeastern province Diyarbakir. Following the operation, a scuffle took place in Lice between gendarmerie and a group that attacked the construction site of a military outpost which started a few months ago to expand the military post as part of the efforts to counter-narcotic efforts against illicit drug trafficking in southeastern Turkey. The Interior Ministry has announced that one person was killed and nine people were injured as a result of the incident.
Commenting on last week's scuffle in Lice, Prime Minister Erdogan said the incident was indirectly related to illicit hashish trade, the most important financial resource of terrorism, in the region. "Just recently, security forces have destroyed over 100 trillion liras, in the prior currency value, worth of cannabis. This is the most significant financial source for terrorism and is something that we cannot make concessions on. Unfortunately, there are individuals involved in this and even managing this trade that have connections with those active in politics right now," said Erdoğan.
PROTEST OF MILITARY POST WAS FABRICATED
Erdoğan remarked that what transpired in Lice was indirectly relayed to marijuana cultivation and said that the construction of a military outpost was used as a "story" to play out the protests. "We are obligated to build high-security outposts in the region and we are not going to be seeking permission from certain political parties or organizations in order to do so," said Erdoğan.
"As for those who want to sabotage this process, this climate and this atmosphere, they will never be freed from bearing responsibility for this black stain and pains of remorse. We have not only set our hearts, hands and bodies on this process, we have risked our lives. There is no sabotage or provocation that could deter us from this blessed journey or this solution process," Erdoğan said adding that whoever harbors intentions to derail this process, no matter what political party they hail from, will not be able to carry the burden of this sin. The Prime Minister called on everyone to act responsibly.
"Do they expect us to ignore those getting involved in illegal protests, throwing Molotov cocktails, kidnapping people and conducting drug trafficking as we are in a solution process towards peace?" asked Erdoğan. "As for those who do harbor such expectations, well, I'm sort, but there is no way we will overlook illegalities. We will absolutely not allow those who resort to illegalities, pressure and violence to harm this ongoing resolution process," said Erdoğan.
Amendment to Article 35 of Turkish Armed Forces act
PM Erdoğan also touched upon the amendment to Article 35 of the Turkish Armed Forces' internal service act, which has been used several times in Turkish history as a justification for military coups. "We will be repealing article 35 of the internal service act of Turkish Armed Forces this week in an effort to strengthen our democracy," he said.
The amendment, as Erdoğan stated, will redefine the mission of Turkish Armed Forces and the definition of military service. He highlighted that the Turkish Parliament would be completing the amendment aimed to remove a major obstacle blocking Turkish democracy before the parliamentary recess, by stating "The parliament will not recess until the amendment of Article 35 on the Turkish Armed Forces has been finalized."
Erdoğan also referred to his government's efforts to secure social welfare by establishing an atmosphere embracing all, regardless of their religions. "Our government does not operate on an understanding based on a single-religion. In our history, we have been the most successful in ruling people of different religions. The AK Party treats every religion equally. We, as the AK Party government, are the guarantee of the freedom of religion for different religious groups in Turkey. We will enthusiastically maintain the social welfare with which we are a model to the world," he added.
Date of PM Erdoğan's Gaza visit not clear
Responding to reporters who asked him about the date of his Gaza visit following the AK Party parliamentary group meeting, Erdoğan said that the exact date of his impending trip has not yet been finalized. When another reporter said, "It was said it would take place in July", Erdoğan replied by saying, "We will announce it when the dates have been clarified."
SABAH and Agencies