Turkey has announced plans to improve the rights of its Kurdish minority.
The reforms are seen as a way of boosting Turkey’s chances of EU membership and include the creation of an independent anti-discrimination commission to prevent torture and discrimination. The plan also involves allowing the Kurdish language to be used in political campaigning and the naming of towns.
The bill will have to be passed by parliament, where it is likely to be fiercely contested by opposition parties who fear it will damage Turkish unity.
Ahmet Türk, a pro-Kurdish member of parliament told his counterparts:
“The Kurdish problem is serious and directly linked to the mistakes of the state. Let us resolve this problem so that future generations are proud of us and follow our example.”
Turkey has been confronted with a 25-year armed struggle against separatists who want their own state: Kurdistan. Violence has dwindled in recent years since a series of air-raids on rebel bases in northern Iraq.
Among recent steps to improve the cultural rights of Kurds was the launch of a state-run Kurdish language television channel.