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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid