Monday, September 6, 2010

Congressional Report says Turkish Govt Managed Kurdish Opening Poorly




Brussels, Belgium: Carol Migdalovitz, a Middle-East expert, has written a new report for the US congress, suggesting that the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey (AKP) have a poor management of it’s “Kurdish opening”.

“AKP has failed to deal comprehensively with a significant domestic group’s struggle for recognition of its ethnic identity—the Kurds in a majority Turkish state,” Migdalovitz wrote.
The report, “Turkey: Politics of Identity and Power”, was released on August 13 by the Congressional Research Service, acting at congressional direction -- does not permit direct public access to its publication. It comes only days before a referendum over the Turkish Constitution to take place on September 12.
The report was publicized by the website of the
Migdalovitz says, “The government initiated an unprecedented “Kurdish opening,” but managed it poorly, produced unfulfilled expectations.”

The report accusing the government of ignoring specific proposals and consensus with its interlocutors of a nationalist Turkish opposition party known as MHP and the now-defunct pro-Kurdish party DTP.
The report says the reforms initiated by the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan were not real.
“There was no amnesty for Ocalan or PKK militants, no federalism, and no raising of Kurdish to the level of an official language. In other words, the government did not propose changes to constitutional provisions mandating the unitary state or the official language (Turkish). As of this date, the government has not implemented its proposals,” read the report.
The report further adds, that as a result of risen nationalist anti-PKK sentiments, the government has focused increasingly on the use of an armed force, “such as calling for the deployment of
professional soldiers along the border, while retaining its advocacy of a multifaceted approach.”

The report concludes that violence is unlikely to be conducive for even modest government measures as part of the Kurdish opening, “much less for more dramatic ones that might satisfy Kurds’ ambitions designed to gain greater official recognition of their demands regarding identity issues.”
The PKK, took up arms in 1984 in order to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey, but after the capture of it’s leader in 1999, it compromised it’s demand for more autonomy and cultural rights in the country.
The PKK announced a ceasefire between Aug. 13 and Sept. 20 for the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, but the Turkish government refused to recognize the ceasefire, suggesting that the state doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
But the congressional report adds that observers note that the PKK is no longer targeting civilians.