Turkey's reelected PM: I'll safeguard secularism

July 22, 2007 23:55


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Turkey's reelected prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pledged in a victory speech late Sunday to work for national unity and safeguard secularism. "We will never make any concessions over the values of our people (or) the basic principles of our republic. This is our promise. We will embrace Turkey as a whole, without discriminating," Erdogan said. Erdogan said he would press ahead with reforms that his government has promoted as part of its efforts to join the European Union and overhaul an economy that now enjoys average annual growth of 7 percent. He also said Turkey would do whatever was necessary to fight separatist rebels in the country's predominantly Kurdish southeast. Turkey is considering a cross-border offensive into Iraq to ward off rebels who have safe havens there.

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