Turkey weighs reform to get PKK members to quit: PM

Turkey could reform a law that allows PKK militants to avoid punishment in a bid to encourage them to stop attacking and return home, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

Turkey weighs reform to get PKK members to quit: PM
Ankara blames the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for almost 40,000 deaths since the start of its attacks in 1984 and in recent months -- amid an escalation of violence -- has massed tens of thousands of troops for possible cross-border strikes against militants based in northern Iraq.

Turkish law already allows PKK members who have not been involved in attacks to avoid punishment, if they hand themselves in and inform on the group, under article 221 of the penal code.

"We will do whatever is necessary in the legal framework. Article 221 ... is still in force, we could make the law more flexible, we could reform it," he told reporters in Ankara.

Erdogan had been quoted as saying at the weekend that a whole new law could be passed, which he denied on Wednesday.

His weekend comments have already provoked sharp criticism in Turkey. Nationalist opposition party MHP has said the initiative would mean giving in to terrorism.

Ankara, like the United States and European Union, considers the PKK a terrorist organization.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2007, 18:10