World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave hints on Saturday of a “new Turkey” that is more welcoming of diversity, as he led an ordinary mass wedding in southern Turkey made extraordinary with the participation of Masoud Barzani, the leader of Iraqi Kurdish administration, and Sivan Perwer, a musician of Kurdish origin who stood on Turkish soil for the first time after 37 years of exile.
Erdogan was in the province of Diyarbakir to hold the ceremony, planned as an event to bring together Erdogan and Barzani against the backdrop of a “solution process” in Turkey, aimed at ending terrorism and addressing issues related to a sizable Kurdish minority.
“God willing, you will see that the future will be much better,” Erdogan assured Diyarbakir citizens, many of them weary of decades-long armed conflict on one hand and lackluster development on the other.
“You will see that those in the mountains will come down, those imprisoned will be free, and the entire population of 76 million people will stand united and create the new Turkey,” he said.
Prime Minister Erdogan explained that in the “new Turkey,” no one would be treated as a second-class citizen.
“There will no longer be any discrimination and assimilation in Turkey. Kurd or Turk, Alevi or Sunni, religious or secular, every single person is a first class citizen in the new Turkey.”
The Turkish government hopes that the event, described as historic by the Turkish media, gives a new lease of life to a solution process which, following an enthusiastic overture between the government and the PKK terrorist organization in March, has almost come a standstill, with parties exchanging blame for failing to keep promises.
Dialogue 'beyond borders'
During his remarks, Erdogan welcomed Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, whom he said had familial ties with Turkey that went back in history.
“81 years ago in 1932, Molla Mustafa Barzani, Masoud's father, came to Turkey with his people when their lands were bombarded and villages burnt down by the Iraqi state,” Erdogan told the gathering. “And Turkey embraced him and his people. The Turkish people welcomed them. With the same spirit today, I welcome his son Masoud.”
Erdogan noted that borders which separate nations states were ascertained by rulers a hundred years ago, but dialogue and friendship would know no boundaries.
"No one can draw a line into our dialogue, not even into our common history, civilization and future," he said.
Erdogan warned of attempts to sabotage the solution process in Turkey.
“There are some who are disturbed by the development of Turkey in all aspects. Those who are disturbed by the solution process will try any means to break the peace in Turkey.”
On Friday, PKK terrorists carried out an abortive armed assault on a military convoy in the city of Mardin. No one was hurt.
Erdogan also praised the venue of the event, the historic city of Diyarbakir, which shares a border with Mardin, saying: "Diyarbakir is a city of brotherhood. We are united by an eternal bond of fraternity. We walk a common path together."
Erdogan quoted renowned Turkish poet Sezai Karakoc, who said: "Diyarbakir does not belong solely to Turks, Kurds or Arabs, it belongs to us all, just as Irbil does."
"If we have peace in Diyarbakir, Irbil will be more peaceful. Should Diyarbakir have peace and welfare, Turkey at large will be in peace and welfare," Erdogan said.
"Remember, you [people of Diyarbakir] have a great responsibility. I want Diyarbakir to be a mediator, a guide, showing the way forward in the new process, " the Prime Minister added.Last Mod: 17 Kasım 2013, 10:24