Turkey is a democracy enjoyed by all, says official

Published: Updated:

A member of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party told Al Arabiya’s Point of Order show that Turkey is a functioning democracy in which freedoms are enjoyed by everyone.

Emrullah Isler, a member of the foreign affairs commission, was commenting on the series of reforms that were recently announced by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The reforms include allowing private schools to teach the Kurdish language.

“There is no need for self-governance in Turkey because it is a democratic country where everyone enjoys full freedom. Abdullah Ocalan himself does not ask for self-governance,” he said, referring to the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

However, Kurds have criticized these reforms saying they do little to meet their demands.

“In the past we witnessed a denial of the Kurdish identity but the Justice and Development Party paved the way and refused to reject the identity of the Kurds and others,” Isler retorted.

In commenting on the content of the peace agreement between the Turks and the PKK which outlined that the Kurds must retreat into Iraqi territory, Isler refused to consider it a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.

He instead asked why the Iraqi government allowed what he described as a terrorist organization to establish strongholds in Iraqi territory and launch attacks on Turkey.

Despite labeling the PKK a terrorist organization, Isler underlined the strong relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government and said that they are seeking to improve their relations further.

Isler also commented on threats emanating from the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria which state that the group will attack Turkey if it does not open particular borders crossings between Turkey and Syria.

“We are not afraid of these threats because Jihadist and extremist organizations are always threatening Turkey and their members have conducted terrorist attacks inside Turkey since 2005,” he said.

Isler concluded: “We support moderate Islam and we want what is best for everyone. We do not allow extremists to cross our territories and we do not have any relations with them.”