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Turkish and Kurdish officials working on peace package

Sept. 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Kurdish lawmakers in Turkey say they are hopeful going into continued talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a democratization package.

Erdogan on Friday met with Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials to finalize the democratization package, and is expected to announce the details of the package next week, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"We are not expecting that this package will include and meet all demands, but there is hope, at least. The government should include some issues which will relieve the Turkish public opinion and offer solutions to the peace process in the package. There are expectations on amendments to the Anti-Terror Law and Turkish Criminal Code, release of KCK [Kurdish Communities Union] members under arrest, sick prisoners, freedom of belief, removing discrimination, the issue of the mother tongue and issues concerning women," said BDP deputy group chairman Pervin Buldan.

Having the right to educate children in their mother tongue was a prime issue for Kurdish officials.

"Education in their mother tongue is Kurds' red line. We will never step back from this issue. We think that even if it is not included in this package, the AKP [Justice and Development Party] must definitely take it into agenda later on. If Mr. [Deputy Prime Minister Bulent] Arinc too expresses that it could be dealt with in the Constitution, a solution can be found there. Apart from the discussion on whether it is included in this package or not, we are looking from the point that this issue must definitely come before Turkey. If not in this package, the AKP must take it into its agenda in the future," Buldan said.

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