Chances for Kurdish resolution slim

Jan. 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM
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BERLIN, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The chances of resolving the conflict between pro-Kurdish groups and the government in Ankara, Turkey, are dwindling, the lawyer for a jailed PKK leader said.

Pro-Kurdish lawmakers in the Peace and Democracy Party demonstrated at the Turkish Parliament last week 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.

Mahmut Sakar, lawyer for jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, told German news agency Der Spiegel frustration with the Kurdish situation in Turkey is growing.

"People are frustrated and angry," he said. "Day by day the chances of resolving this conflict are waning."

A move to settle simmering issues with the Kurdish minority was upended in 2009 when a court banned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party from politics because of alleged ties to the PKK.

Ocalan was kept in isolation since his 1999 capture through November 2009, when justice officials transferred five prisoners to Imrali Island at the request of European officials.

Sakar said, however, Ocalan is "completely isolated from the outside world." His prison, he added, is the European equivalent of the U.S. Navy's detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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