Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu came together with young students from several universities at a cafe in one of Istanbul’s central districts to discuss critical issues Turkey is currently faced with, as the snap elections approach on Nov. 1.
Davutoglu, a famed professor of International Relations, has met with the students for an outright conversation over the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) policies, along with AK Party’s vision for the future Turkey on Oct. 26.
The students asked Prof. Davutoglu many questions, ranging from Turkey’s “Resolution Process,” prospects of a new constitution and mediatic polarisation to anecdotes in his private life.
He stated that the AK Party government has intensively worked on the success of the “Resolution Process” and will continue to work on it, which aims to peacefully resolve country's Kurdish questioon through disarmament of the PKK terrorist organisation ending violence and armed struggle of the group in Turkey’s southeast and eastern regions.
At the beginning of 2013, the then-governing AK Party announced a peace initiative, officially called the “Resolution Process” and the PKK seemed responsive until July 2015 under the instructions of its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern regions by the PKK, which was founded in 1974 by Abdullah Ocalan and his supporters in Ankara. Armed clashes and acts of violence have continued on and off for more than 30 years, and claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Davutoglu shared with the students that he has long pondered the conflict, which mostly takes place in Turkey’s eastern provinces, seeking ways to end it.
He gave an example from his own experience with kids from a western province of Manisa and a southeastern province of Diyarbakir, where he has played soccer during different times, articulating the outlying philosophy of the “Resolution Process” that has been hidden in the future lives of these kids.
He told the students how he discussed his experience with his staff, following his time spent with the kids from both provinces, “Whether they go to work in company with each other to build a country all together, five years from now, or some of them will go to the mountains [joining terrorist PKK] and others will be soldiers ending up to fight each other.”
He emphasised that, “We will start a new chapter in this country based on a consciousness of a common destiny.” However, he also pointed out that Turkey’s security forces will relentlessly fight against terrorism, until the conditions of domestic tranquility in the country have been ultimately ensured.
The recent PKK terror attacks killed 148 security officials and over 30 civilians in Turkey since the group’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two and half year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11.
Turkey has been targeted with increasing terror attacks by ISIS and PKK terrorist groups in its southeastern and eastern regions, since a suicide bombing, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS, in Suruc district of Sanliurfa province, which claimed 34 lives on July 20.
Davutoglu also touched upon the constitutional debate, indicating that if his party is awarded by the Turkish people with a majority or other parties give adequate support to AK Party, that would enable them to change the current constitution, as one of their first initiatives they will completely shelve the present constitution and create a new one.
Turkey’s present constitution was enacted in 1982 under the supervision of military leaders who came to power with a coup on Sept. 12, 1980.
He said that, “I am ashamed with the fact that Turkey has still been governed by a constitution of that kind.”
He also drew attention to the recent polarisation in Turkish media and criticised that mediatic ethic has been put away by certain news outlets, complaining incremental narrowing of “gray area” in the country.
He conclusively advised the youth to stay in the gray area as far as possible.
“Do not close your mind to the opposite side. Through perception management operations they are trying to imprison [the mind of] people into particular spheres. You always need to protect your mind and your critical approach against these kind of operations,” Davutoglu said.