Turkey mulls new approach to Kurdish issue

ANKARA, Turkey

The government is drafting a series measures as part of a new approach to the Kurdish issue, local media reported on Tuesday (May 12th). This major policy shift was prompted by last week’s tragedy in the predominantly Kurdish province of Mardin, where gunmen killed 44 people at a wedding party.

Some of the alleged attackers were members of the village guard units, supported and armed by the state to fight the terrorist Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in the region.

Media reports suggest the cabinet intends to adopt new legislation to alleviate social problems and expand the rights of the large Kurdish minority. The measures include creating more jobs, lifting some restrictions on television broadcasts in Kurdish, providing relocation assistance to internally displaced persons, and promoting Kurdish language and culture. The project also envisions steps to encourage PKK militants to surrender.

Also Tuesday, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said the government is ready to restore the Kurdish names of villages that had been changed to Turkish.

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