World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey is closer than ever to ending terrorism related to the desire for self-determination of some of the country's Kurdish minority, a top official said Friday.
"We will continue to stick to the solution process to end terrorism in the country with resolve and determination," said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay. He made his remarks at the inaugural ceremony for a workshop on the so-called solution process held in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
The banned Kurdistan Workers' Party, commonly referred to by its Kurdish initials PKK, fought violently against the Turkish state for nearly four decades. But after talks with the government, a ceasefire was declared in March 2013. Also last year, the solution process was initiated between the government and the PKK, which is active in the southeastern region, where the Kurdish minority is centered.
The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the government of Turkey, as well as by other governments and international organizations such as NATO.
"The strong will of the people has demonstrated that terrorism cannot gain ground in Turkey," said Atalay. "The process to resolutely end terrorism in Turkey requires sincerity, justice, empathy and a fair conscience."
Atalay pledged to meet the "brave mothers and families" of teenagers kidnapped by the PKK in April, and expressed his support for their courage in speaking out.
He dismissed allegations by Gulten Kisanak, Diyarbakir's mayor and co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, that the mothers of the kidnapped teenagers had been bribed into holding a vigil for the return of their children from the mountains.
The Diyarbakir Municipality forced the families to change their protest site on Saturday.
The protests in Diyarbakir began after the PKK reportedly kidnapped an unknown number of children on April 23, when Turkey celebrates "Children's Day." The kidnappings threaten to destabilize the already delicate solution process to end terrorism and address the concerns of the Kurdish community.
Kurds make up the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, accounting for 18 percent of the population.Last Mod: 06 Haziran 2014, 13:50