Erdogan: "The democratic initiative is a project of the republic of Turkey"
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday hosted a fast-breaking dinner for editors of leading Turkish newspapers and TV stations at Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace. Speaking at the dinner, Erdogan said the government's democratic expansion initiative to solve the country's so-called Kurdish or southeastern Anatolia issue was not a package of short-term measures, but a process with mid- and long-term goals. Stressing that the initiative is a project of the Republic of Turkey, and all state institutions are in consensus on it, Erdogan said, "Interior Minister Besir Atalay, government coordinator for the initiative, is continuing his talks on the initiative with various sectors of society, and it will be debated in Parliament when the summer recess concludes early next month." Calling on political parties and the general public to support the initiative, Erdogan criticized opposition leader for resisting the initiative before learning anything about it. The government is open to all suggestions and has no preconditions for the initiative, Erdogan said, urging opposition leader to have their say on the initiative instead of attacking it with baseless claims. Accusing opposition leaders of acting with a prejudicial ignorance about the initiative, Erdogan cited a report prepared by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on the issue in late 1980s, saying that though the report and the initiative share much in common, Baykal now opposes measures he once advocated. Stating that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) refused to meet with Atalay to discuss the initiative, Erdogan said that they would seek CHP support for the initiative, urging the party to take part in the ongoing process. Touching on the economy, Erdogan said that Turkey was recovering from the global economic crisis with less of an impact than other countries, adding that the government would continue its economic policies.