Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has denied that Turkey has a “Kurdish problem,” saying there is instead only an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “terror problem” that hinders development in the country’s eastern and southeastern provinces.
Meeting with Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) head Bendevi Palandöken and a group of merchants in Ankara, Yıldırım said terrorism was holding back development and investment in Turkey, especially for citizens living in the east and southeast.
“We have been suffering from terrorism for many years. In reality there is no Kurdish problem in Turkey. Kurds have a terror problem with the PKK. This problem holds us back in all areas. Works in the region are delayed, investments are delayed. Who is suffering? Our citizens living there are suffering,” he added.
Yıldırım recalled that six soldiers who were taking security measures were recently killed in an attack during construction of a road between the southeastern province of Şırnak and the eastern province of Van.
“Now let my citizens see, let my Kurdish citizens living there see. This terror organization, these vile people are doing whatever they can to hinder the development of the region. Let our children not fall into this trap,” he said.
His remarks on the fragile situation in Turkey’s east and southeast came after he said the state is responsible for “regulation” to make sure there is no unfair competition.
“The state’s duty cannot be trade. The state’s duty is to provide security, justice, education, and health. Otherwise we should leave everyone to do their own job,” said Yıldırım.
“We should provide everybody with the same opportunities and whoever is then powerful should move ahead,” he added.