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News Analysis: Turkish gov't makes overture to Kurds to secure votes in upcoming elections


14:44, January 25, 2013

ANKARA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Turkish government's overture to the Kurds, the largest minority in Turkey, was seen as another move to alleviate tensions ahead of the upcoming local elections which were scheduled to be held in March 2014 and followed by the presidential election.

In his address on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted that Turkish security forces made mistakes while fighting with the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in 1980s and 1990s. The PKK is listed as terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.

Erdogan's remarks came after the reports of the new talks between the government and the imprisoned PKK leader Abullah Ocalan.

"The government is preparing for local elections and it needs Kurdish voters to keep its popularity in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern region," the opposition Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Mustafa Destici said Thursday.

Ihsan Dagi, a professor of international relations at the Middle East Technical University (METU), said that Erdogan used the Kurdish votes to enhance the popular legitimacy of the government, saying "Kurdish votes enable Erdogan to claim that he and his party are champions of the integrity of Turkey."

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