Kurds say de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion pack­age isn’t enough

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

Turk­ish Pre­mier Er­doğan has an­nounced the long-awaited de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion pack­age which is de­signed to re­solve the decades-long con­flict with the coun­try’s large Kur­dish mi­nor­ity.

At long last, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cap Tayyip Er­doğan, un­veiled Tur­key’s de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion pack­age. Soon af­ter the an­nounce­ment of the pack­age, the pro-Kur­dish Peace and Democ­racy Party ( BDP) stated that the pack­age will not meet Kur­dish de­mands. They claim it is de­signed to meet the de­mands of the rul­ing party and call it an elec­tion pack­age.

At a press con­fer­ence, the Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter said that, “With all the ob­sta­cles over the past 11 years, we can im­prove democ­racy.” He went on to say: “The pack­age will not heal all the wounds, but chal­leng­ing this aim is crit­i­cal. The re­forms we un­veil to­day will not be an end to the de­moc­ra­tiz­ing of this coun­try. This pack­age is not the first ini­tia­tive, nor will it be the last.”

The de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion pack­age in­tro­duces a num­ber of con­sti­tu­tional changes and amend­ments in the sphere of in­di­vid­ual rights.

Er­doğan pro­posed low­er­ing the 10 % elec­toral thresh­old to 5 %, thereby re­mov­ing a bar­rier to the Kurds and smaller par­ties se­cur­ing more seats in par­lia­ment.

A long­stand­ing goal of Pre­mier Er­do­gan’s AKP party was to end the ban on women wear­ing head­scarves in the pub­lic ser­vices, and the pack­age puts an end to that ban.

Thou­sands of Kurds in Tur­key took to the streets and gave a thumbs down to the gov­ern­ment re­forms de­signed to pro­mote the peace process with the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK).

They waved ban­ners show­ing their dis­plea­sure that the pack­age and other re­cent mea­sures make no men­tion of set­ting the im­pris­oned PKK leader, Ab­dul­lah Ocalan, free.

Dur­ing the protest, a BDP of­fi­cial ad­dressed the crowd: “With this rally, we have shown that we want a re­form pack­age which rec­og­nizes a sta­tus for Kur­dis­tan as well as free­dom for Ocalan.”

Many po­lit­i­cal ex­perts say the pack­age does not go far enough in meet­ing Kur­dish de­mands.

The pack­age will al­low towns to use their Kur­dish, rather than Turk­ish, names, as well as per­mit­ting Kurds to study in their mother tongue. Al­though this is a ma­jor con­ces­sion, it only ap­plies to pri­vate schools, which makes it less sig­nif­i­cant.

On the other hand, the re­forms an­nounced by the Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter were wel­comed by some lo­cal res­i­dents.

“Th­ese re­forms are good. I do be­lieve there will be more re­forms. Th­ese re­forms clear the way for more in­di­vid­ual rights and free­doms. A new dress code in pub­lic is also an im­por­tant step for­ward,” one lo­cal res­i­dent told Eu­ronews.

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