Pro-Kurdish groups protest Ankara

Jan. 4, 2012 at 9:20 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Turkish lawmakers have shown they're unable to address the Kurdish problem plaguing the country effectively, a pro-Kurdish figure said.

Pro-Kurdish lawmakers in the Peace and Democracy Party demonstrated at the Turkish Parliament to protest a raid against Turkish militants along the southern border with Iraq.

Turkish military officials said the raid was conducted after surveillance drones observed movement toward the border by militants with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Turkish initials PKK. An airstrike, however, killed 35 villagers apparently smuggling goods across the border.

Last year, Turkish lawmakers renewed a mandate that allowed cross-border raids to take on fighters with the PKK.

Selahattin Demirtas, chairman of the pro-Kurdish political group, said his colleagues can't seem to tackle the Kurdish question through non-military means.

"We are protesting parliamentary groups who cannot solve problems (and who) adopt motions and cause trouble," he was quoted by Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman as saying.

Turkish officials said they were investigating the raid and offered compensation to the families of the victims. The government said it wouldn't offer an apology while investigations were under way.

Past efforts at a political solution failed after ruling authorities in Ankara blacklisted some pro-Kurdish lawmakers.

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