Prime Ministry denies democracy package discussed with jailed PKK leader / NEXT WEEK GOVERNMENTS ‘DEMOCRATIC PACKAGE’

13 September 2013 / TODAYSZAMAN.COM, İSTANBUL – The Turkish Prime Ministry has denied media reports that the content of a recent government-sponsored package designed to strengthen democracy and keep on track a fragile settlement process to end the Kurdish conflict was discussed with the jailed leader of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A statement from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Office on Friday said reports that the planned reforms were discussed with those other than relevant authorities do not reflect the truth, referring to some media reports that the government also conferred with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on the reforms.

“As openly announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday [Thursday], the democratization package is planned to be made public next week by Mr. Prime Minister following an evaluation meeting to be attended by relevant ministers,” the statement said.  The announcement of the “democratization package” follows the declaration this week by the PKK that it had halted its withdrawal of fighters from Turkey because the government had failed to take steps it had agreed to. Kurdish politicians are seeking reforms to allow full Kurdish-language education, soften anti-terrorism laws, lower the electoral threshold to enter Parliament from 10 percent and strengthen local government, but it was unclear how far the package would go in satisfying these demands.  

“We’ve spent hours on this democratization package,” Erdoğan said at a conference of businesspeople on Thursday. “Hopefully tomorrow we will discuss the last articles, and I think next week we will announce the democratization package at a large news conference,” he added.