Following an emotional appeal by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling for unity on a newly shaped plan to settle the country's long-standing Kurdish question, Turkey's prominent artists have voiced strong support for the plan, asking the government to take even more courageous steps to solve the matter.
Addressing his deputies in Parliament on Tuesday, Erdoğan referenced Kurdish singers and poets, underlining their importance to Turkish culture. “Are we not affected in the same manner when we read the verses of Ahmedi Hani as we are when we read those of Fuzuli? Our hair stands on its end when we listen to songs of Neşat Ertaş. Similarly, we jump to the depths of our emotional world when Şivan Perwer sings Halpeçe and Hazal,” the prime minister said.
Well-known artists have said they were deeply affected by Erdoğan's appeal for a solution to the Kurdish question. “I have called for unity and peace in my songs for many years. We are all brothers and sisters. Let's love and praise each other. Let's get rid of disagreements,” said Ertaş, a folk singer.
A renowned Kurdish folk singer, Perwer, expressed hope that the government's plan on the Kurdish question will help restore peace in the country. “The approach of the prime minister is of importance to bring happiness to all of our people in Turkey. I hope his efforts will help restore peace and fraternity in the country,” he said.
Perwer called on all related bodies to take their responsibilities seriously and do what falls on their shoulders. “I don't find the stance of some political figures right. They don't serve the good or welfare of people of Turkey. I'd like everyone who has not lost the feeling of humanity and fraternity to gear up to support this peace process and pay no heed to politics over the tears and blood of people,” he added.
The wife of Ahmet Kaya, a famous Kurdish folk singer who died in 2000, praised the government for taking courageous steps toward the solution of the Kurdish issue. “I hope these steps will become reality. I find this courage very meaningful and appreciate the government's efforts,” said Gülten Kaya.
Zeynep Tanbay, a modern dance performer, termed the prime minister's remarks “magnificent.” “I'd put my signature below all that he said. I was deeply affected when he mentioned the names of Şivan Perwer and Ahmedi Hani. The government should put the Republican People's Party [CHP] and the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] aside and turn its face to people like us who wish for a solution to the question. Just understanding this question is enough to be conscientious,” Tanbay remarked.
Actor Mahir Günşiray voiced strong support for Erdoğan and criticized opposition parties for attempting to block the peace process. “I don't expect MHP leader [Devlet] Bahçeli to have an initiative, but if CHP leader [Deniz] Baykal fails to do something on the issue, then party officials should gear up,” he said.
Both the CHP and the MHP have adopted a very strong stance against the government's efforts to settle the decades-old Kurdish question. Earlier this week Baykal accused the prime minister of confusing “ethnic” identities with the concept of a “national” identity.
Bahçeli, on the other hand, adopted a much more aggressive stance against governmental steps taken toward the settlement of the Kurdish issue. At a press conference on Tuesday he said his party is not ready to make any concessions or compromises to back the initiative.