Saturday, October 24, 2009

State Department Comments on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey

Go to fullsize image

US Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

October 21, 2009

QUESTION: Thank you. Yesterday, a small group of PKK members crossed into Turkey from northern Iraq, which marked a new beginning in Turkey’s dealing with its Kurdish issue. Do you have any comment on that? And second of all, or separately, does it mean anything in your Iraq policy? Where do you put it?

MR. KELLY: Well, I think we welcome the most recent – the steps taken by Turkey towards ultimate reconciliation between some of the – of some of the differences between the Kurdish population and Turkey. And I think we would see this most recent decision by the Turkish Government to allow these Kurds to – or former members of the PKK – to lay down their arms and reintegrate, that this would come in that category of steps that we welcome.

And you know we’ve consistently supported Turkey’s efforts to open up a dialogue with the Kurdish population, and we’ve welcomed some of the steps they’ve taken in that direction, including allowing more – allowing the Kurdish population more cultural and linguistic rights. And we’re pleased to see that the Government of Turkey is taking these kinds of concrete steps. You know that we consider the PKK a terrorist organization, and I think any steps that are taken to help deal with this problem, whether it’s in northern Iraq or Turkey itself, of course, we would welcome it. Full Text of the Briefing