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President Obama-Turk meeting emphasizes dialogue.

President Obama-Turk meeting emphasizes dialogue – April 04, 2009

slider1The meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Democratic Society Party (DTP – forerunner to today’s BDP) co-chairman Ahmet Turk emphasized the need for dialogue in solving the Kurdish issue. Turk presented Obama with a dossier including details on the DTP’s Democratic Autonomy Project, the party’s political views, and a three-page letter outlining its views on solving the Kurdish issue.

Speaking to reporters, Turk said the meeting was warm and friendly. Emphasizing the importance of solving the Kurdish issue for the development and peace and democracy in Turkey and the Middle East, Turk said: “There are 40 million Kurds in the Middle East. 20 million of them live in Turkey. If Turkey doesn’t solve this problem with modern, democratic methods, neither Turkey nor the Middle East will see stability. We told President Obama that we favor a solution to the Kurdish issue within Turkey’s existing borders.”

Regarding what President Obama’s views, Turk said: “Mr. Obama said he has met with many Kurdish leaders, but this was the first time he met with Kurdish politicians in Turkey and it gave him great pleasure. He emphasized the importance of democratic politics and the DTP’s role in it. Mr. Obama said he had great respect for the Kurdish people and that problems cannot be solved with violence. He noted that he attaches importance to minority and group rights and that he will expend effort to ensure that they are honored. We said we don’t support violence and that we favor democratic solutions to problems. We also noted that the issue of violence cannot be looked at from only one side, as 17,000 extrajudicial killings by unknown perpetrators have been carried out.”

Turk added that he told President Obama and that the United States has a role to play in Turkey’s democratization and especially resolving the Kurdish issue, and that the centrality of dialogue and reconciliation in their meeting was important in this regard.