Turkish PM says no amnesty for convicted PKK militants

Erdoğan addressed the audience at a meeting with representatives of rights groups and nongovernmental organizations in the western province of Balıkesir

Turkish PM says no amnesty for convicted PKK militants

World Bulletin / News Desk

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sunday that there will be no general amnesty for those who have been convicted of killings, amid mounting debates over a possible amnesty for members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as part of ongoing peace efforts to find a political settlement to end the decades-old Kurdish dispute.

Erdoğan told the audience at a meeting with representatives of rights groups and nongovernmental organizations in the western province of Balıkesir on Sunday that there is no possibility for a general amnesty covering anyone who has killed a person, in what seems to be a revelation of the government's stance on a critical move seen as indispensable to the peace process by many.

Erdoğan raised the issue after engaging in a discussion with an army veteran. He told the army veteran, who showed stern opposition to talks with jailed leader of the militant PKK Abdullah Öcalan as part of government efforts to end the decades-old Kurdish dispute, that he shouldn't “exploit his status of being a veteran.”

Stressing the government's determination to find a viable political solution to the issue, Erdoğan said his government will do anything necessary to end the conflict.

"One of our brothers called it a 'Gathering with a baby-killer' [Öcalan]. Anywhere you go in the world, you will see that states not only engage in talks with those convicted of terrorist crimes but also any criminals, through intelligence agencies. They [states] end conflicts in this way. If there is hope for a solution, we are seeking it," Erdoğan said to ward off criticism leveled by the veteran.

"The approach is not right. You can be proud of being veteran but don't exploit your status. We already said on numerous occasions that there will be no general amnesty. I don't see the right in my authority to forgive those who have been convicted of killing someone," Erdoğan said.

The prime minister also lambasted the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for its refusal to have talks with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on how to find a political settlement for the Kurdish question.

Erdoğan criticized the MHP for lacking any political vision or policy other than criticizing the government for its engagement with the Kurdish dispute.

"The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) asks for a meeting [with the MHP]; it was denied. The AK Party asks for a meeting; this is rejected," Erdoğan said, questioning the party's oppositional stance. He concluded by questioning for what reason a party exists in the country if it avoids any talk or dialogue to find solutions to national problems.

Last Mod: 03 Mart 2013, 16:29
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