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Turkish PM Sends Important Messages to Turkey, US, Armenia and EU

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  • Turkish PM Sends Important Messages to Turkey, US, Armenia and EU

    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."
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