Posted by: hevallo | December 20, 2008

Kurdish Leaders Anounce Peace Conference to Solve Kurdish Question in Turkey!

“This is a political problem with political solutions!” DTP Leader Ahmet Turk.
Kurdish leaders from Turkey and Iraq will hold a peace conference aimed at ending decades of violence by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group, the head of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party said.Ahmet Turk, leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), said the conference, which would take part in Europe or in Iraq, was agreed during a recent trip to northern Iraq, where he met Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi Kurdish leaders. (Hevallo adds: including Massoud Barzani, above.)

Turkey, the European Union and United States consider the PKK a terrorist organisation. The group has bases in northern Iraq from where it launches attacks on Turkey in pursuit of an independent Kurdish homeland.”Kurds will hold a conference and discuss the conditions of a peace process,” Turk told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.

“Kurds have to focus on a peace process and put forward a common understanding on the issue.”Turk said the PKK had been invited, but a spokesman for the rebel group in Iraq said it welcomed the conference but it would not attend. Turk did not say when the conference would happen.

The DTP seeks more cultural and political rights for Turkey’s Kurds and has insisted a democratic solution should be found. The conference could exert some pressure on the PKK to voice willingness to put down its arms.Turkey has long complained that Iraq is failing to curb PKK fighters who cross the border to launch attacks against it, but Baghdad and Ankara have recently stepped up contacts to fight Kurdish separatist guerrillas.

AIR STRIKES

The Turkish military has carried out several airstrikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq in recent months as casualties on both sides have risen.Around 40,000 people have been killed in Turkey since 1984, when the PKK took up arms to establish an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.

Turk, whose party faces a possible ban in a court case on charges of links with the PKK, said the ending of what he called discrimination against Kurds in Turkey would encourage the PKK to lay down arms.

The Turkish government and the EU have called on the DTP to condemn PKK violence more clearly.

“The problem cannot be solved by (the PKK) resorting to weapons and cannot be solved by operations and force (by the Turkish military). This is a political problem with political solutions,” he said.

Tensions between the DTP and the ruling AK Party of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan have risen in recent months ahead of municipal elections in March.A recent visit by Erdogan to Diyarbakir, the largest city in the restive southeast and a DTP stronghold, was marred by violent protests.

The AK Party has boosted local spending to win votes, particularly in the poor southeast.Turk blamed friction between his party and the AK Party on what he called rising Turkish nationalism.

“We are going through a period of a chauvinistic wave where ethnic nationalism is on the rise. We want a solution based on Turkey’s territorial integrity, but the state does not have the same sensitivity with us on the issue.” Source: Reuters.

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