Ankara considers Kurdish question

Aug. 3, 2009 at 7:42 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Ankara is ready to consider a variety of solutions to address the so-called Kurdish question in order to avoid conflict, the Turkish interior minister said.

Ankara played host to a diverse forum to hear various solutions on lingering issues stemming from Kurdish ambitions in the region.

The Turkish government is searching for a political solution to the Kurdish issue following a victory for pro-Kurdish parties in municipal elections in March. Kurdish groups, meanwhile, are considering their own set of initiatives, which may include suggestions from the leadership of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay told members of the forum that tackling the Kurdish issue would free up much political capital for Ankara, Today's Zaman reports.

"If it can solve this problem, Turkey will free itself from the shackles," he said.

The forum heard suggestions ranging from government reform to democratization steps that would not only address underling Kurdish questions, but help Ankara with a variety of developmental issues.

Delegates warned, however, that without a political solution, the Kurdish situation may escalate to violence.

Officials in Ankara are expected to offer a comprehensive package on Kurdish reconciliation in the coming days, while imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is expected to announce his own framework Aug. 15.

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