The Turkish Parliament today passed a bill that gives legal protection to peace talks and paves the way toward eventual reconciliation with the Kurdish PKK party. Deutsche Welle reports:
Turkey’s parliament on Thursday passed a legal reform package meant to speed up and formalize a peace process with the Kurdish people in the country’s southeast.An estimated 40,000 people have been killed during the 30-year-old armed insurgency by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Talks with the government have taken place in recent years and led last year to the PKK declaring a ceasefire, which has largely held.The new reform package, which still requires presidential approval, would assure immunity for state officials who engage in talks with the PKK – still banned as a terrorist organization by the Turkish authorities, the European Union and the United States. The new laws would also pave the way for amnesty for most PKK fighters and offer a chance to return to regular life if the peace process is successful.
Within Turkey, the bill could help end decades-old bloodletting. It will also boost Erdogan’s presidential reelection chances. Finally, this puts Turkish support for an independent Iraqi Kurdistan, already announced, on an even firmer footing.
As Adam Garfinkle pointed out earlier today, “the AK era provides no other lasting positive service to the country, its rapprochement with the Kurds will have made it all worth it, if that effort can be brought to a reasonably and relatively happy ending.”