Turkey Proposes Changes for Kurdish

The Prime Minister of Turkey detailed the proposals to push along the peace process with the Kurdish minority in the country.

However, Kurdish lawmakers have questioned whether these reforms were enough and his political opponents have accused his government of gamesmanship politically, heading up to the elections over the next 24 months.

In a talk that lasted nearly one hour in the capital of Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that rules that prevented pro-Kurdish or other parties that are small from becoming part of parliament would change.

He said political parties could campaign in their own language and that education in the Kurdish language would be allowed in the country’s private schools.

Kurdish names that have been banned for years can also be restored to villages within Turkey. In addition, the ban on use of Kurdish letters namely the Q, X and W anywhere in public will be ended.

Erdogan’s government will also end the ban that bars state employees from using the headscarves that are Islamic-style in nearly all state run institutions. This is a move that is designed to gain support amongst its very conservative base.

These proposals come following blows to the yearlong talks over peace between the government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is a militant organization. The group has fought against the central government for the past three decades and has caused over 40,000 people to be killed.

The PKK is listed by Turkey, the European Union and the U.S., as an organization of terror. It started pulling fighters from the country last May following a deal with the government for a cease-fire, but in early September said the withdrawal had stopped since the government failed to deliver on the promises to increase the rights of the Kurds.

Erdogan has in the past said the reforms are not linked directly to the peace attempt, but those changes are to address the grievances of the Kurds after a cease fire was declared in March by the PKK.

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