SELECTED PARTS FROM THE SPEECH DELIVERED

BY THE PRIME MINISTER RECEP TAYYİP ERDOĞAN

AT THE AK PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP MEETING

ON 1 FEBRUARY 2010

(Official translation)

Honored Colleagues...

Today we are witnessing in our region, in our neighborhood, very important events, clearly very important developments which will shape history.

Now for some days now, the attitude of our Justice and Development (AK) Party towards these events has been questioned by the media and some political circles.

First of all, I would like to tell you this:

The AK Party has always stood by truth and freedom.

The AK Party has always stood by the cause of advancing democracy.

Since its foundation, the AK Party has believed that people’s choices and demands stand above everything, and has defended this idea very strongly at every occasion.

Mark my words: the AK Party is a political party which came to power declaring: “ENOUGH, THE FINAL SAY AND DECISION BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE” and started working and took responsibility by having faith only in the people.

I always mention this, and I will say it once again: It’s the people who set the AK Party’s course, and so they will continue. The AK Party’s fabric is woven by the people, and so shall they ever weave it.

The AK Party government is the people taking power through democratic means; it is the people shouting loud on the side of democracy; it is a stand against the status quo.

The basis of the AK Party’s existence is to sustain the will of the people and democracy; it is to secure the rule of law, it is to effectuate rights and freedoms in the broadest sense.

The AK Party, not only in Turkey but all over the world, has always opposed the status quo and oppression, and meanwhile supported aggrieved peoples without any fear or hesitation.

Turkey is putting forth a foreign policy with integrity and playing a role which will change the course of history and move all the stones in the region.

Turkey is breaking taboos by telling the Cruel, “Halt.”

Turkey is breaking taboos by calling out the killers as the killers they are.

Turkey, which shouts “stop” to those who condemn people to blockades, also shouts out for justice and equality at every occasion.

Turkey is working so that not only do peace and stability prevail in its region, but also democracy, universal justice and freedom.

We have made great efforts for our neighbors, our sister nations, not to leave them in an unstable situation and family quarrels. We will continue to make these efforts.

We always say that countries that cannot solve their own problems, which cannot break free of domestic chaos, which cannot come together with others, also cannot reach a bright future, and protect their outside interests.

That is why we have called for national consensus in Palestine. That is why we have tried to secure political consensus in Lebanon. That is why we have tried to reach a democratic consensus in Iraq.

We have always supported and underlined the importance of domestic peace, national consensus, unity and democratic development in the countries of our region.

This group has inscribed its name in history as the voice of those who are oppressed all over the world, and especially our region, as well as in Turkey.

Let us be clear: Throughout history, no government has managed to survive through pressure, suppression and intimidation.

In every period of history, sooner or later, human dignity and self-respect broke their chains, tore down all walls, and those who were oppressed, albeit slowly, took their rightful place.

So no government can remain indifferent towards rights and freedoms, and no government can cast aside the people’s demands for democracy.

Turkey’s aspirations for democracy find voice in the people’s roar. In 1950, the words, “Enough, It’s the People’s Turn” resounded.

Our republic brings its democracy into action with the great aspirations of the Turkish people, and the democracy of our Republic grows stronger and more advanced with each passing day.

Making a democratic regime prevail requires a process that depends on transformation and development.

Democracy requires maintaining people’s voices, people’s hearts, people’s demands, the people’s consent, and also making sure the regime reflects this.

Governments, which close their eyes, their ears and their mind to the people, cannot survive long.

My friends, no shout or aspiration or cry of the people will go unanswered.

No government can sustain itself despite the people.

The state works in the interest of its nation; it gains meaning through the nation’s presence, freedom and support.

The pillars of our philosophy rest on the concept, “For the state to live, let people live.”

And whatever we want for ourselves, we want the same for our fellows, our brothers and sisters.

We want democracy, prosperity, justice, and freedom for ourselves, and we want the same for our fellow nations.

We want peace, security, stability, development, and unity for ourselves, and we want the same for our fellow countries.

Now I have a piece of very sincere advice, a very sincere warning for Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak…

We are human, we are mortal… We will all die and be called to account for what we left behind.

We will all die and be buried in graves six feet under.

We are all transient. It is important to leave behind a clear, beautiful voice in a permanent sphere, one remembered with respect and mercy. We are here for our nation, and we perform our duties for the nation.

So listen to both your conscience and the voices of your people.

So I’m asking you to listen to the people’s voices and their most humane demands.

Welcome the nation’s will for change without any hesitation.

I am clearly saying: Take steps which will satisfy the nation, and take the first step in the name of Egypt’s peace, security and stability without giving any opportunities to exploiters, evil circles, or those who have dark designs on Egypt.

In today’s world, freedoms cannot be postponed or ignored.

Our wish is that these events will end as soon as possible without causing great pain and that the nation’s legal, reasonable demands will be met.

Democracy and freedom are not a gift to be given but a human right.

Here, I wholeheartedly declare that losing even a single person’s life in Egypt, whether a civilian, soldier or police officer, causes great pain in the Turkish nation's heart as well.

We don’t want even a single person to be hurt in Egypt.

Within such an understanding of responsibility, our greatest wish is that the nation and the government will undertake a change which will satisfy every group in Egypt and raise democracy and freedoms to the highest standards.

Turkey will continue to stand by the side of our sister nations Egypt and Tunisia, and share the grief of these nations as well as their hopes.

That reforms in Egypt and Tunisia are carried out, that peace prevails as soon as possible, along with lasting unity and integrity, are our greatest wishes.

With their dynamic young populations and belief in democratization and human rights, Middle Eastern societies can spearhead a new movement of culture and civilization with an open mind and freedom-oriented point of view.

We hope that new government of Tunisia will carry out the democratic reforms sought by the Tunisian public, enable the most comprehensive political participation and representation, and carry out an effective development plan. In this critical process, we will stand by Tunisia and the Tunisian people.

Honored colleagues,

For ages, the Middle East has been the cradle of civilizations. From ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia and Islamic civilization, the deepest-rooted traditions of civilization in history emerged from this land. These civilizations made great contributions to humanity’s common heritage in science, philosophy and art. The various religions and cultures of this geography embrace universal values and create a universal civilization.

But during the last century there has been a tendency to take the Middle East to a quite different place. It has become associated with wars, conflicts, blood, tears, poverty, corruption, ignorance and violations of human rights.

Turkey believes that the peoples of the Middle East and Arab countries do not deserve this. These lands have values and energy which foster the same dynamism, universal point of view, and perspective of civilization as when it was a cradle of culture and civilization. Middle Eastern societies can spearhead a new movement of culture and civilization with their vibrant young population, with their belief in democracy and human rights, and with their open minds and freedom-loving stance.

We see the recent events through such a lens. The balance between change and stability, reforms and security, and democratic demands and social peace, should be maintained. We believe that after setting this balance, Middle Eastern countries will move toward a more free, more just, and more prosperous future.

We never believed that chaos will rise out of democracy.

We never believed that fanaticism will rise out of democracy.

Order and stability can only be achieved by democracy. Humility, tolerance and compromise can only be fueled by democracy.

Nobody should ever fear free, just and democratic elections or the nation’s will. For the democratic common will and social conscience of the nation can do no wrong, can never choose the wrong path. If there is a problem, the solution is to go the ballot box and the nation.

I believe that this region can show the whole world shining examples of democracy, universal values and coexistence with compromise.

So let’s believe in ourselves and feel sure of ourselves…

Here, I would like to again make a call to our sister nations ….

Being pessimistic does not befit us. We are the members of a huge civilization. We should act with fraternity, friendship and self-confidence, and to inspire hope.

Struggling for rights and freedoms is everyone’s most natural right; however, we should also act with good sense without resorting to violence, never forgetting that opposing parties are also human beings and our brothers. Let’s not abandon restraint and common sense.

Please, believe that there is no problem that cannot be overcome. Turkey will always be a partner to the wishes of our brothers and sisters.