ANKARA - As the prime minister denies he ever took a ’love it or leave it’ stance against anyone, arguing that he stands for brotherhood among Kurds, Laz, Turks and Caucasians. Meanwhile, the opposition cautions on Obama

The prime minister’s attitude towards the Kurdish question and opinions on the U.S. President-elect Barack Obama were the main themes of party leaders yesterday in Parliament.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied that he said "love it or leave it," an axiom associated with nationalists, during his Southeast visits, addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, lawmakers yesterday.

"Patent of that expression belongs to the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP. What I said was that Turks, Kurds, Caucasians or Laz people, we are all one and together in this country. No ethnicity can assume prevalence over the other. We have only one supra-identity, and that is citizenship of the Republic of Turkey," he said.

Opposition staying put
Main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Deniz Baykal claimed that from the economy to the struggle against terrorism, there is a fissure in every politic area. "The prime minister chides everyone, and accuses backers of journalists. He does not have the right to order people to leave," Baykal said. "No one is going anywhere, and you are doing your job. It is evident that the PM is not able to fulfil his duties," Baykal maintained.

Democratic Society Party, or DTP, leader Ahmet Türk said "the flag belongs to all of us. We need to consider the flag as our common value. Of course, there is a price to be paid for democracy, and we are paying it. We will continue until the war ends," In criticizing military spending, Türk said, "If the cost of the bombs dropped on mountains were spared for kitchens, Turkey would be on a different level right now."

Erdoğan’s latest stance on the Kurdish question has been criticized for succumbing to a conservative and nationalist approach.

Erdoğan noted, however, that local people were understanding the economic development efforts. He stated that the University in Hakkari, a heavily Kurdish populated city where the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, protested Erdoğan's trip last week, has a rector who graduated from Oxford University. Erdoğan underlined that garbage was just left on the streets of Diyarbakır, a major contest zone between the AKP and the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, referring to protests of DTP municipalities against him. "The dirt will be cleaned by March 29," the day of municipal elections, Erdoğan maintained.

Erdoğan stressed he would discuss measures against the global financial crisis at the G-20 meeting in the United States on Friday.

Cautious toward Obama
Baykal said he hoped that external powers would not be "this much involved" in the Middle East, speaking to his lawmakers and stating his opinions on the U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama.

"The quest for people and stability in the Middle East must take Turkey’s thesis into account. We must use this chance in the new Middle East picture that will be shaped until 2012," Baykal underlined.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli argued that Obama’s ideas on the Kurdish question, on Cyprus and Armenian genocide claims were worrisome. He said Obama must be assessed carefully. Bahçeli also argued that the progress report of the European Union on Turkey contains impositions.