Turkey: Gul approved the law for discussions with the Kurds

Those involved in the discussions on disarmament and reintegration of rebel Kurds now protected from possible criminal prosecution

On Tuesday the Turkish president Abdullah Gul approved a law for peace talks with Kurdish rebels, a development which is considered an important step in the efforts to end the Kurdish insurrection which has lasted for more than three decades. This Act may secure victory for the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is hoping to attract the vote of the Kurdish community in his bid to become the first directly elected president by the people of Turkey. In 2012, in an effort to end the 30 year insurgency that has killed 40,000 people, Turkey, a member state of NATO, began peace talks with the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. However, Until now there was little legal protection covering those who negotiated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of Ocalan, which is characterized as a terrorist organization by the Turkish authorities, the European Union and the United States. The new law will now protect those involved in the talks on disarmament and reintegration of Kurdish rebels from possible criminal prosecution, as well as providing legal protection to those who participate in meetings aimed at ending the bloodshed. Politicians representing the Kurdish minority have been pressing for a long time for such a bill to ensure no risk of prosecution for those involved in the talks, in case the political climate in Turkey changes in the future and turn against the ongoing peace process. It is worth noting that Erdogan has invested significantly in peace efforts, expanding the cultural and linguistic rights of the Kurds even with the risk of alienating part of his own political base.