Leadership Council for Human Rights

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

PACE urges more cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) encouraged Turkey to further extend the cultural rights of its Kurdish citizens by adopting a comprehensive approach.

The draft resolution and report is entitled "The Cultural Situation of the Kurds," and was prepared by British PACE member Lord Russell-Johnston. It was submitted to members of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education and will be voted on in October.

The Parliamentary Assembly encourages Turkey, as well as Iran, Iraq and Syria, to acknowledge that Kurdish language and culture are part of the heritage of their countries. It stresses that they are treasures worth preserving and shouldn't be viewed as a threat.

The report praised recent reforms and the status of Kurds in Turkey as compared to those living in other countries but it also highlighted the need for more reports.

According to the report, the assembly recommends that Turkey takes certain measures, including protection of the major Kurdish languages, encouraging university courses on Kurdish language ad literature, ending the high administrative hurdles faced by Kurds in their cultural activities, and enabling the development of written press, radio, and TV.

The problem of "honor killings" which are still prevalent in Kurdish communities was also addressed in the draft PACE report.

The report also stressed the negative impact of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on the modernization of southeastern Turkey. "The surge of PKK terrorism in the southeast part of Turkey in 1984 and its combat by the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] has made the situation much worse. From a cultural point of view, for instance, literacy rates in the region have decreased dramatically in the last 15 years, in particular those for women," the report said.

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