Çiçek calls for consensus on terror fight

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News – 28.8.2012 – Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek calls for political parties to come together and take action against terrorism, under a 11-article written statement titled ‘National Consensus against Terror’.

It is high time for all political parties to take action against terrorism, in the wake of an increase in deadly terrorist attacks that has caused uproar in the country, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek has said, calling on them to come together to solve the problem through common thought and language.

Çiçek issued this call in an 11-article written statement titled “National Consensus against Terror” yesterday, emphasizing the need to rush the democratization process in order to bring security-oriented measures to bear against the problem of terrorism.

“[Some may] call my initiative futile, irrelevant, wrong and imperfect. If others want to do anything against terrorism, this is the time to act. We all may have done things wrong [in the fight against terrorism] in the past. But we should not get hung up on this. We now have to be able to develop a new manner, a new language and a new coming together,” Çiçek told Ankara bureau chiefs yesterday as he outlined his statement. “Politicians cannot turn their backs on this bleeding wound.”Çiçek’s initiative came a week after a bombing by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) killed nine civilians in Gaziantep on the second day of the Şeker Bayram holiday, causing a general reaction against the terrorist organization and against political parties, who have not gathered around the same table to deal with the issue.

“Turkey’s main problem is terrorism. It should be regarded as a national issue. It should be treated with a non-partisan approach. One thing is certain: Messages of condolence and individual reactions will not solve the problem,” Çiçek said, recalling the scene at the funeral of six victims of the Gaziantep bombing. “We should be able to do something beyond this.”

Spain, which fought the separatist ETA for years, was only successful in eliminating terrorism following the adoption of a national consensus against it, Çiçek said, urging Turkey to do the same without wasting time.

Some parties use the term “terrorist,” while others describe the same people as “guerillas” or “freedom fighters,” Çiçek said, calling on parties to come to an agreement on the definition of terrorism and terrorists. Although he tried to refrain from commenting on current political developments, he openly criticized the warm reception of some Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers for PKK terrorists who stopped them on the road near Şemdinli. “I openly say this: I do not approve of such a thing.”

Our own solution

Criticizing the international community and even Turkey’s closest allies for their unwillingness to contribute to Turkey’s efforts to eliminate terrorism, Çiçek expressed his pessimism about foreign assistance. “We now have to solve the problem on our own. We have to pursue this struggle using our own national resources, but while benefiting from global experience.”Terrorism has become a political tool and is sometimes used by countries against their rivals, Çiçek said.

Emphasis should be on freedoms

One of the most important messages Çiçek delivered was the need to balance the anti-terrorism fight with increasing the country’s democratic norms and expanding freedoms.

“Turkey has an EU policy. Taking decisive steps to increase democratic standards has become a national policy, regardless of the terrorist attacks,” he said, urging the government to take these steps without delay. “If we delay them, the terror organization will spoil them.”

‘Good morning after supper’

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Haluk Koç rebuffed Çiçek’s proposal, saying the CHP had previously made a similar proposal.

“There’s a good English aphorism for this situation: ‘Good morning after supper,’ Mr. Çiçek. You are the speaker of the Parliament. If you bring forward such naive proposals, then we will remind you of your duties arising from the internal regulations of the Parliament. The speaker can call the Parliament to meet for an extraordinary session; why didn’t you do so before, if you are aware of such a need?”

Hasip Kaplan, deputy parliamentary group leader of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), criticized Çiçek’s initiative on the grounds that his consensus idea was baseless. “This problem cannot be solved through individual consensus proposals. For me, Çiçek’s proposals are abstract. He wrote this text on his own, without consulting any political party. These proposals and this wrong diagnosis will not solve the problem.