The New Anatolian, Turkey
July 9 2005

Turkish PM Sends Important Messages to Turkey, US, Armenia and EU
The New Anatolian / Ankara

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the midst of his
second visit to the U.S. in two months, on Thursday sent important
messages to the Turkish public, Turkey's neighbors and prominent
actors of the international community.

Erdogan's main message was about the struggle against terrorism
during his speech at a meeting in San Francisco, organized by the
World Affairs Council of Northern California and Commonwealth Club of
California, late Thursday.

The Turkish prime minister's messages were as follows:

Importance of Iraqi unity

Erdogan warned international actors against letting themselves
reflect any sense of any ambiguity or failure in Iraq onto the
broader region. `To prevent such developments, we should look forward
and improve our coordination and cooperation' he said. `We should do
whatever we can to preserve the political integrity of Iraq and the
establishment of a democratic system in that country.'

Erdogan also called on the Iraqis preparing their constitution to be
careful to protect balances. `The new constitution should end the
domination of different ethnic and religious groups above others,"
said the premier. "It should confirm that all subterranean and
above-ground resources belongs to all Iraqis. The constitution should
also recognize that Kirkuk belongs to the Iraqi people rather than
only one ethnic group.'

The Turkish prime minister also expressed Turkey's readiness to help
the new Iraqi government in every area, especially military training,
education, and medicine and treatment.

'Don't intervene in regional countries'

Erdogan also implicitly warned United States, which has lately been
applying mounting pressure on Syria and Iran, to leave these
countries to solve their problems through their own means -- but
without giving the name of the Middle Eastern countries. `Countries
in problematic regions should be in a position to solve their
problems through their own internal dynamics,' said Erdogan. `To
effect such a change, the encouraging and supportive attitude of
international actors, especially the U.S, has crucial importance.'

Underlining that Turkey frequently encouraged democratization in
these countries, Erdogan said:

"The countries which are best poised to benefit from globalization
have democratic and free societies, and open regimes which provide
gender equality.'

The message of Erdogan to regional countries was not to look abroad
for the sources of their problems. `Always relating the problems of
the Middle Eastern region to foreign factors is not a reasonable
view,' he said. `Solutions should first be sought inside. There is a
need to reform to supply the demand of regional societies.'

'Global terror needs a global struggle...'

Erdogan expressed the need for global action against terrorism during
his speech. `We cannot stop global terror without realizing global
peace,' he said. `To accomplish this aim, we should act together,
decisively and wisely, against common threats.'

Erdogan also underlined that terror had no borders, religion or
nationality. `The United States cannot defeat terrorism alone.
Neither can Russia, Britain, Spain or Turkey,' he said. `Common
sense, action and solidarity is needed to fight terror. Terror is a
result. So, its causes, poverty and illiteracy, should be eliminated
through common action. '

The Turkish prime minister called on international actors to spend
their money to fight poverty, rather than on armaments. `The United
States should definitely take the lead,' he added. "Turkey is ready
to give every kind of assistance to the U.S. in this struggle.'

Asked about Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) activities in northern
Iraq, Erdogan said that Turkey and U.S were continuing their
cooperation in intelligence. `But I should say that no terrorist of
the PKK has been delivered to us so far,' he added.

Call to Armenia: Don't use history to fuel enmity

Erdogan, in his message to Armenia, called on it not to use the
common history of the two countries to feed enmity between their
societies. `The political decisions taken by third countries'
parliaments are not a solution,' he said. `There is another thing
more important than these decisions: The Council of Europe declared
that Armenia was as invader [in Nagorno-Karabakh]. First Armenia
should leave the territories of Azerbaijan.'

'The isolation of Northern Cypriots should be ended'

Erdogan also called on international actors, especially United
States, to end the embargo against the Northern Cypriots. He
underlined that the Northern Cypriots voted for a solution on the
island in last year's referendum. `So then why are they being
punished?' he said, referring to the continuing international embargo
against the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

'Secularism is insurance for all of us'

Asked about the headscarf issue and secularism in Turkey, Erdogan

`In a secular society, religion is under the guarantee of the secular
administration. As a matter of fact, our constitution also defines
secularism like this. Secularism is at an equal distance from every
kind of belief. And for this reason, secularism is a sort of
insurance for all of us.'

On the `public area' debates vis-a-vis headscarves, Erdogan said that
the problem arises from a lack of any definition of `public area.'

`Up to now in our country there has been no policy of employing women
wearing headscarves in public areas. Our problem is the ban against
students wearing headscarves at universities,' he said. `I think that
we should get past these kind of problems.'

On the membership process of Turkey to the European Union, Erdogan
said that `there is a very long journey to become a full member.'

`But don't forget that it took Britain over 11 years to get
membership,' he continued. `It was almost the same for Spain and
Portugal. We began our way with sincerity. And no one can know who
will be holding power in France 10 years from now."