The ruling AKP hails growing support for its Kurdish peace process, saying public backing by all has grown despite the anti-gov’t Gezi Park protests

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Support for the “resolution process” to end Turkey’s three-decade-old conflict between the state and Kurdish militants has increased among both the Kurdish population and the rest of the population, according to a survey from the ruling party’s Research and Development Directorate.

Some 90 percent of Kurds and 70 percent of the rest of Turkey’s population is now supportive of the peace process, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Süleyman Soylu said yesterday. In a previous survey conducted on the topic before the beginning of the Gezi Park revolt, 75 percent of Kurds lent support to the process, versus 65 percent of the rest of the population.

Support for the peace bid is on the rise despite “recent winds of trouble,” Soylu said, referring to the Gezi protests. “All the accumulated social problems and disputes are being brought to the agenda at this time,” he added.

“Taking into consideration the political power of the prime minister, our nation is convinced that from now on this problem can be resolved with this courageous political step,” he said.

The first phase of the withdrawal of the members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is now complete, and it is time to move on to the next phase of the peace process, which includes a government-sponsored mixed democratization package, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has said. But the Turkish government has said the withdrawal from Turkish territory has yet to be completed.

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and Ankara launched peace talks last October to halt a conflict which has killed 40,000 people and blighted Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

Kurdish leaders have called on the AKP government to launch reforms set out under the talks, but Ankara has said the PKK needs to keep their side of the bargain by speeding up their withdrawal to northern Iraq.

The PKK took up arms against the state in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state, but subsequently moderated its goal to regional autonomy. Kurds represent around a fifth of Turkey’s population of 76 million people.

 

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