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 PKK members wary of return to Turkey

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PKK members wary of return to Turkey  2.12.2009  

December 2, 2009

DIYARBAKIR, Kurdish Southeastern region of Turkey, — Members of the Turkey Kurdistan Workers' Party residing in Iraqi Kurdistan refugee camps will not return to Turkey until conditions are satisfactory, representatives said.

Ankara is embarking on a plan to find a political solution to lingering issues with the Kurdish minority. Its plans involve cultural considerations for Kurds and modest amnesty offers for rebels with the Kurdistan Workers' Party,
www.ekurd.netor PKK.

Ankara laid out plans to start accepting Kurdish refugees into Turkey in groups of 300 to 400 from the Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq.

Gulbahar Cicekci, a representative for the PKK, said statements on cultural concessions from Ankara were not enough to address their concerns, Turkey's leading English-language daily Today's Zaman reports.

"No one can come back (to Turkey) before providing necessary constitutional and safety conditions, such as schooling in one's mother tongue," he said.

The United Nations established the Makhmour refugee camp in 1998 in response to violence in southern Turkey.

Since 1984 the PKK took up arms for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey (Turkey-Kurdistan) which has claimed around 45,000 lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK guerrillas. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels. Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority.

"The Kurdish question cannot be resolved without recognizing the will of the Kurdish people and holding dialogue with its interlocutors," the group said.

The PKK has long called on Ankara to halt military operations and agree to negotiations for a solution, which it says should include official recognition of the country's Kurds in the constitution.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

The government categorically rejects dialogue with a group it labels a terrorist organization and says it will not let up on the military campaign against the rebels. The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The European Union, which Turkey wants to join, has praised Erdogan's efforts to end the conflict. His so-called democratic initiative aims to expand cultural and political liberties to address decades of grievances from Kurds who say they have faced state-sanctioned discrimination and violence.

It has gone from seeking full independence for the Kurdish region to calling for regional autonomy and better cultural rights for Kurds.

Ankara has recently announced measures aimed at improving Kurdish rights in the hope of undermining support for the party.  

Copyright, respective author or news agency, upi com | Agencies  


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