Davutoglu: PACE description of 'PKK activists' not a decision

Turkey's foreign minister has said the use of the term“activists” to describe Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)militants in a report by a European body is only a phrase and not a decision.

Davutoglu: PACE description of 'PKK activists' not a decision

World Bulletin/News Desk

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters on Wednesday that the description of PKK militants as “activists” in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) report is only a phrase used in the report and does not constitute a decison by the body. Davutoğlu added that activities of PKK members are described as "terrorist activities" in the rest of the report. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

Davutoğlu urged people not to confuse two separate things -- a decision to delist PKK as a terrorist organization and simply describing them as “activists.” He added that the issue is not about a decision PACE made but only about the description of PKK militants as “activists.”

Davutoğlu noted that the report lists a number of activities of the PKK and that the naming of PKK militants as “activists” doesn't have an impact on the essense of the matter. The foreign minister made it clear that the issue is not about taking the PKK off the terror list or denying its activities.

With a last-minute amendment on the floor, a section of the report, drafted by French socialist deputy Josette Durrieu, was changed to describe PKK members as “activists” rather than terrorists or militants. The change of description stands in sharp contrast with the earlier reports, decisions, declarations and recommendations adopted by the Council of Europe's institutions, including PACE, the Secretariat and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

While it welcomed the Turkish government's months-long talks with the imprisoned leader of the PKK to pave the way for the organization to lay down its arms, the report said, “The Assembly is aware that the process is fragile and should be accompanied by the withdrawal of the PKK activists from Turkey.”

The original draft resolution did not refer to the PKK armed members as “activists.” Only in the explanatory note included by Durrieu, which was not part of the resolution, were PKK militants described as “activists.” But the amendment supported by Durrieu on the floor carried that description into the resolution as well.

The amendment classifying PKK militants as activists, tabled by the Monitoring Committee of PACE, was adopted with 152 votes, while 16 voted against it and 11 abstained. Most of the members of the Turkish delegation opposed the change while Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Bursa deputy Tülin Erkal Kara and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) -- a political wing of the PKK -- Mersin deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü supported the amendment.

Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2013, 16:42
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