Sunday, June 6, 2010
ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the main opposition leader Sunday of “advocating on behalf of Tel Aviv.”
Although Erdoğan did not give any names, arguing that he did not want to “promote them,” his remarks in the northwestern province of Bursa were clearly directed at Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Kemal KılıÃ§daroğlu.
“Some people speak in the name of Tel Aviv, advocate for Tel Aviv,” Erdoğan said. “They question our way of diplomacy. The way you did things put us in this dire situation. As I said earlier, we do not work as the ‘mon cher’ diplomats do.”
Erdoğan said Turkey could not step aside since it has historical ties with the region and Jerusalem is a holy city for all three of the world’s largest monotheistic religions.
KılıÃ§daroğlu had said Turkey should have made more diplomatic efforts for the Gaza aid flotilla, which was the target of a deadly attack by Israeli soldiers last week.
The CHP chief had also criticized Erdoğan for making a reference to the Torah and telling the Jewish people that their religion forbids murders. “Erdoğan uses the Ten Commandments as a tool,” he said. “But the eighth commandment says, ‘Thou shall not steal,’ what about that?” asked KılıÃ§daroğlu, accusing the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government of corruption.
Erdoğan was harsh in his response. “Thank God, I have read both the Torah and the Bible,” Erdoğan said Sunday. “I have read the Quran various times, he should read them. He should then talk to the people around him before making such comments.”
Support for initiative
Erdoğan met Saturday with sports figures during the fifth leg of the DolmabahÃ§e meetings, which are being organized to discuss the government’s democratic initiative with prominent people.
Commenting on the agenda by using a sports analogy, Erdoğan said: “It is not the time to pass the ball around in the midfield. It is time to make unerring passes, to perform a team play and, in the end, to score a goal.”
Addressing criticisms leveled against the government’s slow-moving democratic initiative, Erdoğan said: “We have to sustain it. We cannot walk ahead with the guidance of yesterday’s parameters and the burden of the past on our backs... We cannot build the future by covering or burying the issues or delaying coming to terms with them.”
Erdoğan said he had been particular irked by recent remarks on a TV channel that equated the Turkish aid flotilla with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
“Replying to my quotation of the New Testament, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ [the commentator] asked, ‘What are you going to do about the killings of the PKK by the security forces?’” Erdoğan quoted the person as saying.
“What kind of reasoning is this? On the one hand we have a humanitarian aid ship cruising in international waters; on the other hand are those who are trying to violate the rights of others to live under humane terms in their own country,” the prime minister said. “How can you confuse these two?”
A lack of communication pervades all of Turkey’s problems, Erdoğan said, adding that political institutions, state institutions and especially governments have long resisted participating in efforts to establish communication and negotiate.
“Nobody has been harmed by listening, talking, carrying out discussions in a civilized manner or by constructive criticism,” he said. “Turkey has changed as we have tried to arrive at a better understanding of each other.”
Meeting with Internet media administrators at another location in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdoğan complained about user comments below news stories that he said contained such unbearable insults against his person that they could “drive one to murder.”