Posted by: hevallo | July 19, 2007

John Reid, former UK Home Secretary tells Kurds their situation is similar to difficulties faced in N.Ireland.

THE former UK Home Secretary, John Reid, told a group of Kurdish Londoners in Parliament that the difficulties facing the Kurds in Turkey are not too dissimilar to those raised in Northern Island issue.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by Baroness McDonagh at the House of Lords on Monday, John Reid MP also expressed gratification at not being heckled in the room, claiming he had suspected that some of his views might disappoint his audience. The Home Office had previously outlawed the PKK as a terrorist organisation under his leadership – an action that agitated its supporters.
Speaking in response to a series of questions from Kurdish attendees, Mr Reid claimed patience in a political process is much more beneficial than an armed struggle. (Hevallo notes: Not ‘terrorism’, interesting!)
He said: “I am a supporter of Turkey’s admission into the EU and believe that they have come a long way under the AKP.” In a coded admonishment to Turkey, he added that the test of a democracy is how it treats minorities.
Jeremy Corbyn MP, also on the panel, argued that Human Rights advances in Turkey were more symbolic than real. He said: “It is ironic that the first Kurdish language press has opened in London.”
A friendly exchange between Mr Reid and Mr Corbyn ensued over the real progress that Turkey has and continues to make. Mr Reid cited progress in areas concerning women’s political representation, democracy and general freedoms in Turkey’s favour.
Participants and the panel also discussed devolution and a federal constitution as ways for Kurdish people to achieve more autonomy in Turkey.A bell calling MPs to vote meant that Mr Reid had to leave the discussion early. The seminar ended with Baroness Mcdonagh offering to hear any further comments and emphasising that her door is open to the Kurdish community.
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