BAGIS INTERVIEWED BY CNN INTERNATIONAL
Bagis gave an interview to CNN International News on the 6th of October 2008.
Text of conversation:
CNN: For the Turkish perspective on these clashes and the PKK will rejoin on the phone by Egemen Bagis, he is the vice chairman of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party also known as the AK Party. Mr. Bagis, thank you very much for joining us. Your response to what we just saw, we see the PKK in its hide-outs, hide-outs from which they have carried out attacks against your soldiers, the hide-outs that you are bombing in return. What is your reaction to the fact that they seem to be reaching out to you for dialogue even though the violence continues.
EB: Well. Thank you for having me a program. First of all, they are not only attacking our soldiers, they are also attacking our civilians. PKK is a terrorist organization which is on the list of terrorist organization of European Union, and United States and many other international organizations and they are responsible for more than 40.000 casualties. PKK to people in Turkey is what El-Kaide is to people in Europe and in the United States. And there are no good terrorists, all terrorists are bad, and we all have to treat terrorists as terrorists.
CNN: But you, yourself, have mentioned 40000 people have been killed. This is been going on off and on since 1984, obviously this is not working, the military solution, fighting going back and forth. Why not call their bluff and try to negotiate?
EB: WE have. We have passed numerous Repentance Laws and as a matter of fact another Repentance Law is in effect that we speak. A lot of the terrorists are being threatened by the leadership of the terrorist organization and they can not come in and take advantage of the Repentance Laws which will provide them lessen the penalty. We all have to remember that a lot of funds they need to carry out their terrorist activities are collected from different Kurdish groups within Europe. Our allies and NATO, Turkey is the secondary largest military force in NATO. Unfortunately, one of our allies, Denmark is letting them broadcast their messages of violence, through TV broadcasting from Denmark. We need international cooperation to deal with this. Turkey cannot do it on its own. No country is safe until every country is safe.
CNN: What is your suggestion? What can the international community do to help to put a stop to these attacks?
EB: Stop them collecting funds in Europe. Don't let them broadcast their messages of violence to European countries. Treat terrorist as terrorist.
CNN: I'm sorry to interrupt you but you are accusing European governments of supporting PKK but they have declared PKK a terrorist organization.
EB: But they tend to look the other way at times when this organization is collecting funds or broadcasting out of the country.
CNN: As Turkey tries to gain accession to the EU. One of the things that has been asked to do in order to get inside EU, be part of those European countries you're blaming, is to give more cultural rights to the Kurdish population to resolve this issue.
EB: And we have. Look. Ten years ago it was almost impossible for one to declare himself or herself as a Kurd in this country. Today we have Kurdish people act perform down the stage and people going by ticket to watch those games. They are now in the starting Kurdish TV broadcasting which is going to be financed by Turkish taxpayers. We have many Kurdish publications in the country, we have newspapers, now there are Kurdish radio stations, a lot of cultural right have been granted and a lot more will be granted. But this is just like you have a bleeding wound you don't think about cosmetics. We have to put an answer to terrorism how would you feel a group of terrorist attacking your country from a neighbor country? Northern part of Iraq, leaders Northern part of Iraq have to decide if they want to continue supporting terrorism or if they will put an end.
CNN: well they are also denying that they are supporting terrorist. They have condemned very strong terms this attack on Turkish soldiers.
EB: This doesn't cut it: Condemning in terms. We need action. We want countries to treat PKK just like we treat El-Kaide or other terrorist organizations. We all have to unite; we need an international platform to fight against all terrorism.
CNN: Egemen Bagis, Member of the Turkish Parliament and the Vice Chairman of the ruling AK Party in Turkey. Thank you for speaking with us.
EB: Thank you.