Prime Minister Recep Erdogan expressed disapproval with attempts within his nation to close down the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on grounds it is aiding Kurdish rebels. He called on those who seek to end terrorism to focus on peaceful means rather than display hostility in the world of politics. “The path of democratic struggle using legitimate politicial platforms, not mountains, must be chosen.” the prosecutor’s office has begun proceedings to ban the party, saying it had become a “base for activities which target the independence of the state” and is working with an outlawed terrorist group. The DTP has twenty seats in parliament and rejects any links with the Kurdish Workers Party which is behind terrorist activities. Erdogan said the people of Turkey must respect the “choice of tens of thousands of voters. It reflects a democratic preference. Therefore, we do not choose anti-democratic means.” He pointed out his Justice and Development Party government has spent over $5 billion in areas of Turkey where many Kurds live because economic and social activities offer the best means of defeating terrorists.
The Justice and Development Party reflects the views of conservative Islamic people within Turkey, but it has been reaching out to secular and Kurdish voters in an effort to create Turkish unity rather than engage in divisive attacks upon opponents. President George Bush might well learn something about leadership from Prime Minister Erdogan. The Turkish prime minister respects opposing voices, unfortunately for America, our president does not.