Middle East

Turkish parliament opens as clashes with Kurdish rebels flare

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul (front), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (back - C) and ministers, stand before a debate marking the reconvene of the parliament after a summer recess in Ankara on October 1, 2012. (AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN)

ANKARA: The Turkish parliament began a new legislative session Monday in a climate dominated by tough discussions on a new and more democratic constitution and renewed clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces.

During his traditional speech opening the national assembly's session President Abdullah Gul called on members of the parliament not to "fall into the trap of terrorism", arising from the recent spike in attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeast of the country, and abandon democratic progress in Turkey.

"We must continue on the path of democratic reforms and human rights," he said, urging the parliamentarians to complete by next summer drawing up a new basic law guaranteeing further rights for the Kurdish community, which accounts for 15 million of Turkey's 75 million inhabitants, and for the population in general.

"We have to prepare a new contract of citizenship" in the framework of the new text, which is to replace the constitution drawn up after the 1980 military coup, he said.

Work by the parliament on the new constitution has proceeded very slowly because of serious disagreements.

There has been a marked increase in violence in the Kurdish conflict in the southeast of the country, with an upsurge in armed attacks by the PKK, military reprisals and repression by the authorities against the Kurdish political movement.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that 144 members of the security forces and 239 Kurdish rebels, who have been fighting the central government since 1984, had been killed since the beginning of the year.





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here