Turkey offers reforms for Kurdish minority
Long-simmering tensions with Kurdish militant separatists led to a week-long incursion into northern Iraq in February to target bases.
(Page 2 of 2)
Critics have been quick to blame Turkish policies toward the Kurds as the cause of resentment and separatist desires, arguing that a policy of greater democratic freedom and Kurdish rights rather than military actions is needed. In a recent opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune, Aliza Marcus and Andrew Apostolou, two Kurdish experts, criticized Turkey's military response.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The core of Turkey's "Kurdish problem" is not the PKK. It is Turkey's denial of basic political and cultural rights to its Kurds, who are about one-fifth of the population.
An editorial in the news blogging site PoliGazette also affirmed Turkey's struggle with its Kurdish minority.
It's undeniable for anyone that Turkey has made a lot of mistakes when it comes to its Kurdish population. For a long time, Turkey tried to 'assimilate' the Kurds, basically forcing them to break with their own culture and language. This approach hasn't exactly been successful, to put it mildly, and has, instead, only angered many Kurds.
With the announced aid package, the government is now hoping to appease the Kurdish population, reports The New York Times.
The program is intended to drain support for the militant Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, by improving the lives of Turkey's impoverished Kurdish minority, Mr. Erdogan said.
If civilian and cultural openings follow the military operations and unemployment problem of the people in region is solved, the DTP [the Kurdish Democratic Society Party] will get a very heavy defeat and lose its claim. Unless the [ruling Justice and Development Party] AKP takes such a step, things will get harder for AKP in the region.
The announcement of the new plans follow the visit of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to Turkey in response to the recent military incursion. During his trip he condemned the PKK but also called on Turkey to recognize the Kurdish element, reports the Eurasia Daily Monitor.
"During his recent two-day recent visit to Ankara, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, pleased his hosts by condemning the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and inviting Turkish businesses to bid for Iraqi infrastructure projects. But he also defied Turkey's reluctance to acknowledge the Kurdish political reality in northern Iraq by referring to the region as "Kurdistan."
Turkey is already an active economic player in Iraq. Despite the political tensions, Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region has relied heavily on Turkish food imports as well as Turkish investment in construction works and Turkish electricity.
Having sought to land a knock-out blow on the PKK's military capacity, Turkey it seems is now engaged in an attempt to woo both its own Kurdish population, as well as those in neighboring Iraq, through the establishment of more solid economic ties.