Erdogan discusses planned anti-terror measures with main opposition leader Kilicdaroglu
In a step towards possible common ground between the country's main opposition party and the government, yesterday's meeting between Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was described as positive, and was followed by constructive remarks by both leaders. Erdogan, also the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), met with the CHP leader to discuss Turkey's top issues, in particular a recent series of deadly terrorist attacks. "We would gladly lend our support to the government to end terrorism if needed," the CHP leader told reporters following the meeting. He said they have similar opinions on the issue of fighting terrorism. The meeting was held at Kilicdaroglu's chambers in the Parliament building. Along with high-level CHP officials, Kilicdaroglu welcomed Erdogan at the door of his office. Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, and Public Order and Safety Undersecretary Muammer Guler were also present at the meeting, which lasted for one-and-a-half hours. Erdogan reportedly told Kilicdaroglu that professional soldiers would be deployed in outposts along the border with northern Iraq, where terrorist PKK members are based. Stating that the government draws a distinction between the democratic initiative it launched last year to address the Kurdish issue and the issue of terrorism, Erdogan said Turkey's counterterrorism efforts will not flag. When Kilicdaroglu sought details of the teams to be deployed along the border, Erdogan declined, saying he would make a detailed statement on the issue today. Kilicdaroglu also brought some proposals to Erdogan mainly focused on the CHP's view that improving the economy of Turkey's southeast is the best antidote to terrorism. Citing Erdogan saying that investments totaling $25 billion have been made in the region, mainly in road and hospital construction, Kilicdaroglu said this is not enough. "There is a serious unemployment problem in the region," he said. "The private sector isn't going to the region for investment. So the state should go and establish factories to create employment there." He added that they proposed that the government give land newly cleared of mines to landless villagers. After the meeting, asked by reporters if he plans to meet with the opposition leaders again, Erdogan said he would like to, but added that opposition parties should also meet with each other to exchange views on critical issues. "It would be also fruitful if the opposition parties came together to reach a consensus on issues related to the country's future," he said.