Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's Zaman: Government halts return of PKK-affiliated groups to turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
The government has decided to halt the return of individuals linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for a time in order to reassess the democratization process due to agitation among various segments of society. “We don't have any right to destroy one part while trying to construct the other part,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quoted as saying on Saturday.

The PKK declared over the weekend that they will not send additional groups to surrender to authorities. Last Monday eight members of the PKK and 26 people from the Makhmur refugee camp, which is considered by Ankara to be a hotbed for the PKK, turned themselves in to Turkish security forces. After initial interrogations, they were released and received a festive welcome, leading to criticism from many segments of society, including the government and opposition parties.

The group turned themselves at the behest of terrorist PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving life in prison on İmralı Island in the Sea of Marmara. He urged the return of groups from the Kandil Mountains, where the PKK has a camp, from the Makhmur refugee camp and from Europe.

The group from Europe was expected to arrive on Oct. 28, just one day before the anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.