KRG could weigh PKK amnesty measure

Nov. 18, 2009 at 12:06 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq could consider an amnesty offer for Kurdish rebels in its provinces, a former Kurdish premier said.

Ankara is considering a series of political and cultural considerations for Kurds in an effort to find a resolution to decades of conflict with the ethnic minority community.

In an interview with Turkey's leading English-language daily Today's Zaman, Nechirvan Barzani, the former prime minister for the KRG, said lawmakers in the Kurdish capital Erbil could consider an amnesty offer for Kurdish rebels in Iraq.

"Our Parliament can bring this to the agenda and an initiative in which an amnesty is granted to anyone that is Iraqi could be brought up," he said.

Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, called on rebels in Iraq to form so-called peace groups and surrender to Turkish authorities as part of a reconciliation effort.

Celebrations greeting the returning rebels were met with condemnation from supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, who halted additional plans to receive PKK militants from European countries in response.

Barzani expressed concern over the welcoming celebrations, describing them as "provocative." He added a resolution would contribute to regional stability.

"Resolution of this problem will serve Turkey's political, economic and social interests," he said. "It will have an impact on us as well."

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