For the first time since it was founded in 2005, leaders of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), the main Kurdish political party in Northern Kurdistan, have held a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish premier informed DTP's President Ahmet Türk on his plans to solve the Kurdish question. Even though the details of talks have remained unknown, Hürriyet newspaper says one of the first measures could be the return of 11,000 Kurdish refugees who have been living in Southern Kurdistan (Iraq) since 1993.
Hürriyet itself reported last Friday that the Turkish government is seeking to implement the plan stage by stage. Future changes include the re-institution of Kurdish place names, millionaire investments in the area and, as a last stage, a constitutional amendment which would allow for the recognition of cultural diversity in Turkey. According to the newspaper, the plan is not to envisage the establishment of a Kurdish autonomous territory, and neither will it provide for the release from prison of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
It is worth noting that Ankara has presented its proposal to Ahmet Türk only ten days before August 15, the date Öcalan, according to media and international agencies, is most likely to release PKK's "road map" to solve the Kurdish issue (see Nationalia on 22 July). Öcalan lawyers said in an interview with Hürriyet's head of editorial staff that PKK leader will put forward the "democratic autonomy" formula to solve the question, and will also suggest the Turkish state to start a fluid relationship with Kurds from Iraq and Syria. Media expects the road map includes conditions to abandon arms by PKK.
Rioting in Amed
In the meantime, the situation on the ground is still tense as pro-Kurdish demonstrators clashed with police last Tuesday in Amed (Diyarbakir in Turkish). According to Reuters, demonstrators were showing support for Öcalan's road map. Protests left 11 people arrested and one police injured. Figures on the number of wounded demonstrators has not been revealed.
- Kurd Net: Turkish PM hopeful after meet with Kurdish DTP party leader
- Today's Zaman: Gov't overcomes psychological barrier to Kurdish initiative
- The Wall Street Journal: Turkey Seeks End to Kurdish Conflict
- Nationalia: Ankara intends to pre-empt Ocalan's peace process by unveiling reforms in Kurdistan
Further information in Peoples and nations today: Kurdistan