WASHINGTON D.C. – The Islam world will be relieved if the Pope makes a full apology,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.In an interview on the Fox TV, Erdogan said that religious leaders should refrain from using the words of Islam and terrorism together.
“Such remarks hurt all the Muslims. We should refrain from remarks which may overshadow alliance of civilizations,” he stressed.
On fundamentalism, Erdogan said, “fundamentalism is a problem in every religion. But, there is no fundamentalist threat in Turkey today. Secularism is a system that protects the country and nation against extreme movements. As the government, we are taking measures against extreme movements. Secularism is an insurance for different life styles.”
Commenting on the terrorist organization PKK, Erdogan said that the terrorist organization is infiltrating Turkey from northern Iraq and staging terrorist attacks.
Erdogan stated that Turkey expects “more concrete steps” from the USA in fight against terrorism, and qualified appointment of retired general Joseph Ralston as the U.S. special representative for countering terrorism as positive.
Emphasizing that the terrorist organization should lay down arms, Erdogan said that a military operation of the Turkish army in northern Iraq is out of question at the moment, but noted that developments will be monitored.
Erdogan underlined importance of a trilateral cooperation among Turkish, U.S. and Iraqi governments against the terrorist organization PKK.
PM Erdogan was interviewed also by The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Erdogan will meet U.S. President George Bush today, and depart from Washington D.C. for Britain.