Kurds risk support, Turkish officials say

Oct. 9, 2009 at 6:30 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party will lose public support if it does not back a political solution to the so-called Kurdish question, officials say.

Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay explained to reporters that lawmakers would examine the initial provisions of a democratic initiative meant to address lingering disputes with the Kurdish minority within days, Turkey's Hurriyet daily newspaper reports.

Atalay said the provisions would include certain concessions regarding the use of the Kurdish language in academics and in the media. It would also create a juvenile court system to deal with children who supported the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

"Our primary goal is to end terror and the democratic initiative is, of course, in this direction," he added.

Turkey has suffered under more than two decades of conflict with PKK rebels. The ruling Justice and Development Party, meanwhile, lost ground to the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party in March municipal elections.

Atalay blamed pro-Kurdish leaders for skewing the issues, saying political solutions would not include amnesty programs for militants.

He went on to warn the pro-Kurdish party it could lose public support if it refuses to debate the measure.

"If they evade the issue, they will lose votes in the next election because our citizens of Kurdish origin are deeply affected and desire a solution to the terror problem," he said.

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