Turkey's Erdogan To Reveal Democratization Process by Month's End

Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 09:23 AM

By Robert Brothers

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Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday that a much-anticipated democratization package is nearly complete and will be released before the end of September, according to the Turkish news source Hurriyet.

"We have completed the first stage of our work and are now redacting the due assignments," Erdogan said at a news conference. "I will [hold] a press conference solely on the democratization package by the end of the month and [announce]  it there."

The democratization package, on which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is putting the final touches, focuses on four main issues: the peace process with the Kurds and the resolution of the Kurdish issue; the minority Alevi issue; solutions to the problems of non-Muslim communities; and the injustices of the February 28, 1997 coup.

It is hoped that the reform package will help to regain lost momentum on the Kurdish peace process initiated nine months ago.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have listed their expectations from the government in return for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of PKK militants from Turkey.

However, the stalling of the diplomatic process has caused tension and mistrust between the two parties. The government has accused the PKK of not completing the withdrawal process within the given time frames, insisting that the group has only pulled out 20 percent of its armed forces.

The democracy package will also extend services in a citizens' mother tongue in public offices such as municipalities and the tax office; lift the obligation to render settlement names in Turkish; and prevent the sentencing of those who have not committed crimes that violate codes on "being a member of a terrorist organization" via amendments to the Turkish Penal Code and the anti-terror law.

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