Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that the Turkish government is not fighting against Kurds, but is fighting against militancy by the outlawed PKK, emphasising that Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood has survived for more than a thousand years.
Erdogan made the remarks on Thursday in his opening speech at the 25th Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which opened for the new legislative session and closed the same day because snap elections will be held on Nov. 1.
The leader of the main opposition party, the Republican People's Party's (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu did not attend the meeting as he was visiting Lyon in France as part of his election campaign.
Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli also did not attend the meeting for unspecified reasons.
In addition, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies did not attend the assembly in protest against President Erdogan.
Erdogan specifically called on Turkey’s Kurdish citizens during his speech, saying that, "Efforts to break off our relations and make each other enemies have indeed threatened both of us [Turks and Kurds]. Despite this, I say Kurdish people and terrorists [PKK] are totally different."
"My Kurdish brothers' faith, values, ethics, and dignity are naturally not suitable to be grouped with such an organisation [outlawed PKK]. Our fight is not with an ethnicity, but with terror, a terrorist organisation, and terrorists" he stated.
"Most of the damage in this conflict caused by terror has been inflicted on our Kurdish brothers," he added.
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, EU, and NATO.
Erdogan also touched upon the importance of the November 1 parliamentary elections by saying,"For all the parties, whether they are represented at the Turkish Parliament or not, the healthy reflection of national will at the polls should be a matter of honour and integrity."
"I hope all the political parties will take a humanitarian and conscientious stand and a facilitating approach [concerning early elections] in order to prevent the ugly face of terror threatening the polls," he added.
He said that it is the moral obligation of deputies to obey their parliamentary oath. "Political parties and cadres have to be in competition with each other to serve the country and nation," he stated.
"I think nobody would object when we say whomever takes strength from groups that are not part of the national structure, such as terrorist organisations and the parallel state, they can not escape eventually being held accountable for [their actions] before the nation and the law," he added.
The "parallel state" referred to by Erdogan is alleged to be composed of a network of followers of the Gulen movement led by US based preacher Fetullah Gulen who are suspected of having infiltrated the judiciary, police force, and other state agencies and of attempting to take over these institutions.
President Erdogan also said that during his entire political career he has always strived for a great, new and strong Turkey where 78 million people could live as brothers.
Erdogan was the main actor in the establishment of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in 2001 which has come first in three elections consecutively since the November 2002 parliamentary elections and has been the primary Turkish political actor for more than a decade.
He became Turkey's first directly elected president on August 10, 2014.