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Kurds call for Turkish military reform

ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Pro-Kurdish lawmakers in Turkey called on the government in Ankara to rescind a protocol that allows unilateral military intervention to quell internal threats.

The government in 1997 enacted a protocol that gives the military the authority to respond to internal threats without the consent of local officials.

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Selahattin Demirtas, a lawmaker with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to overturn the protocol in the interest of democracy.

"The government claims that it is elevating the standards of democracy, but there are many implementations that contradict this claim, and (this protocol) is a good example of this," he told Today's Zaman.

He complained many Kurdish cities in Turkey were subject to military raids because of the protocol.

Ankara in 2009 called for a series of cultural considerations to end years of turmoil with the Kurdish minority while at the same time stepping up its campaign against Kurdish guerrilla groups.

That measure was threatened by a court decision to ban a pro-Kurdish party from politics and the arrest of several Kurdish leaders for giving speeches allegedly in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

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The European Union criticized the military protocol during accession talks in 2007.

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