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Prime Minister of Turkey Bulent Ecevit
Prime Minister of Turkey Bulent Ecevit
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: BULENT ECEVIT, Prime Minister of Turkey NOVEMBER 11TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: And now we're going to go over to Ankara now to talk to the Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and of course his country is helping us in this battle against terrorism and Turkey has said it wants to help build an alternative government in Afghanistan - stresses its action's not aimed against the Islamic faith - and the prime minister Bulent Ecevit joins us now from a studio in Ankara. Prime Minister good morning.

BULENT ECEVIT: Good morning Sir David, I am pleased to meet you on the BBC.

DAVID FROST: It's a very great joy to meet you down the line as well.

BULENT ECEVIT: Thank you.

DAVID FROST: It's very important, one of the most important things about what you're doing in contributing to this battle against terrorism including troops is that you are underlining the fact that this is not a war against Islam because you are a Moslem country.

BULENT ECEVIT: That's right.

DAVID FROST: And in fact the -

BULENT ECEVIT: The great majority of our people, almost 99 per cent, are of Islamic faith but at the same time we are a secular country, we abide our secularism very strictly and we have proven to the whole world, to the Islamic world, that Islam can be compatible with democracy with secularism and with modernity. I would like to show you a picture, if it can be visible.

DAVID FROST: Yes.

BULENT ECEVIT: The former King of Afghanistan visiting Turkey in 1928, how uh with modern dresses with his wife, with other guests etcetera. So the Taliban attitude is actually a blemish on its past. And if it were not for the struggle that we have undertaken together with the United States, United Kingdom and other friends, the Taliban would pose a serious threat to all the central Asian countries, and even the Caucasian countries and even Turkey. So we had to undertake this attitude together with our friends in the West. We, Turkey suffered from terrorism for at least, for about 20 years, terrorism of different kinds, above all separatist terrorism, Communist terrorism, fundamentalist terrorism, so when the United States came forth with the idea that an international struggle should be undertaken against terrorism we supported it immediately, in fact the United States had helped us against terrorism for many years so it was, it was very natural that we should take part in the struggle.

DAVID FROST: Well, and do you think that, we read so much about countries where there are demonstrations against the fight against terrorism, will the Turkish people support you in this stand, do you think?

BULENT ECEVIT: Yes, certainly. Even with regard to many other Islamic countries, I'm sure that I know that their leaderships approve passively our attitude but they can't be very outspoken about it for understandable reasons. And with regard to Turkey there are of course demonstrations - it's a democratic country - but the great majority of the people, although they don't like wars, although they would have preferred different measures, understand why we have to undertake this attitude, this action, so on the whole the people express their support openly together, although of course they don't like wars.

DAVID FROST: And would you like to see a coalition in Afghanistan, or a Northern Alliance government, and would there be room for moderate members of the Taliban in a future government?

BULENT ECEVIT: Well I don't know what kind of moderates are some Talibans, but of course we believe that a government in which all the ethnic groups participate should be formed and we should work on it, start working on it even before the war ends. Certainly Afghanistan deserves a much better regime than the one established by the Taliban.

DAVID FROST: Thank you very much indeed Prime Minister for joining us this morning.

BULENT ECEVIT: Thank you, it has been a pleasure meeting you Mr David Frost, thank you. DAVID FROST: Thank you very much, I look forward to meeting in the flesh in the near future too.

BULENT ECEVIT: Thank you very much.


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