Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged on Newroz Day for an end to armed conflict and violence and start healing the pain of mothers who lost their sons due to the 40-year conflict with the outlawed PKK.
“I call on all to leave hatred aside and speak with the language of affection from now on,” he told the Spring Fest gathering held at Istanbul’s Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall by the headquarters of his Justice and Development, or AK, Party on Saturday.
Newroz is the March 21 festival that marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated mainly in Iran, Afghanistan, India, Turkic republics such as Azerbaijan, Caucasus countries, Albania and Macedonia. Turkey’s Kurdish population in particular see it as an important traditional and cultural event.
Davutoglu’s remarks coincided with the Newroz message of the jailed head of the terrorist group PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, where he said, “PKK must convene a congress to end the 40-year armed conflict against Turkey.”
The message was read out by pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, deputy chairperson Pervin Buldan and by its Istanbul lawmaker Sirri Sureyya Onder in front of hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey for the spring celebrations.
“Let’s bury hatred, violence, weapons in the ground forever, rather than bury our youth. Let’s bury the pains of the mothers of the martyrs and those who lost their sons,” said Davutoglu.
The Turkish government launched an initiative in early 2013 popularly known as the “solution process” to end the decades-old conflict with the outlawed PKK, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey as well as by the U.S. and the European Union.
In another historic step forward in the solution process, imprisoned PKK head Ocalan had also called on Feb. 28 for terrorist group members to hold a conference to discuss disarmament.
The Turkish premier said that the government’s main goal with the solution process is to safeguard the unity of the country, brotherhood of its citizens, and comfort and peace in the homeland.
“We are determined to preserve the peace, unity and brotherhood which we well know can be only attained by speaking heart to heart,” he added.
Davutoglu said the thing they want to realize is to bury violence and hatred and “convey the message of the flowers of love to the Turkish youth on this spring day.”
He described Newroz as the festival of “all humanity, all ancient peoples as Turks, Kurds and Persians, all peoples who got on the Ark of Noah.”
“Turks and Kurds have been brothers throughout the history and will remain so for ever, so let’s stand shoulder to shoulder in the name of our common faith to prevent any instigation among our nation,” he said.
The premier wanted the spring to be the onset of a new era where all will quit quests of self-assertion and hostilities built upon them.
He further warned against tactics and maneuvers to “play daily politics with the solution process.”
“Those who would like to contribute to our brotherhood, peace, unity and solidarity must first see the big picture only and stay focused on a mutual target rather than tactics and maneuvers by new calls for violence like the ones in October 6-7,” he said.
In October 2014, street protests broke out across Turkey upon a call from the pro-Kurdish party HDP, which left around 40 people dead, over fighting in Syria’s Kurdish border town of Kobani attacked by Daesh militants.
The protesters had blamed the Turkish government for allegedly doing little to halt the advance of Daesh pouring into the town on the Turkey-Syria border.