News / Europe

Kurdish Rebels Disappointed by Turkish Reforms

FILE - Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are seen in Turkey near the border with Iraq, May 2013.
FILE - Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are seen in Turkey near the border with Iraq, May 2013.
Reuters
Kurdish militants are considering whether to maintain their cease-fire after saying Turkish political reforms aimed at bolstering democracy had failed to address their grievances.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan last week pledged to expand some Kurdish rights in a package seen as part of a fragile peace process with the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which declared a ceasefire in March.

“The package disappointed democratic forces, especially the Kurds. It is clear that the package did not meet Kurdish demands,” said a statement on Thursday from the PKK leadership on the Firat News website, which is close to the militants.

“How or whether we maintain the cease-fire and which path and method we opt for depends on the attitude of the government and the Turkish state in the coming days,” the statement said.

Waiting for Ocalan's cue

The PKK is expected to take its cue from jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, who negotiated the ceasefire, ordered his armed followers to withdraw from Turkey, and is expected to make a statement on Oct. 15.

His brother told reporters this week Ocalan would make the statement, after visiting the militant leader on Imrali, the island prison where he has been held since 1999.

Erdogan has accused the PKK of failing to withdraw its forces from Turkish territory as promised, and that the reform package was not a component of the peace talks but aimed more broadly at improving Turkish democracy.

The reforms include allowing for privately funded Kurdish-language education and proposals to change a vote threshold that kept Kurdish parties out of parliament in the past.

But they stopped short of the constitutional guarantees for Kurdish identity and culture, greater autonomy and native-language education that the PKK statement said were “the Kurdish people's inalienable demands”.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has waged a 29-year campaign for Kurdish autonomy that has claimed more than 40,000 lives, mostly Kurdish.

The effort to negotiate peace with Ocalan is seen as Turkey's best chance at ending the conflict that has blighted its human rights record, held back its European Union candidacy and undermined economic growth.

On Thursday, parliament renewed for a sixth time a mandate allowing the Turkish armed forces to intervene into neighboring Iraq to attack the PKK, which keeps bases in a remote mountainous area bordering Turkey.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs