Council of Europe Critical of Turkey

STRASBOURG (Reuters)–The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly is expected to vote next month on a draft report highly critical of Turkey’s treatment of Kurds in its southeastern provinces–angering Turkish deputies.

The draft report–prepared by an assembly committee under the leadership of deputy Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold–a Swiss Socialist–"notes with great anxiety the precarious humanitarian situation of the people of Kurdish and other origins in northern Iraq and in the southeastern provinces of Turkey."

It recommen’s that Ankara "take steps to bring about a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in which it is engaged in the southeast of the country."

The report–a copy of which was obtained by Reuters–condemns both "the evacuation and burning of Kurdish villages by the Turkish armed forces" and "the violence perpetrated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)–which has contributed to population displacement and movemen’s."

But Turkish deputies Ali Dincer of the Republican People’s Party and Atilla Mutman of the Democratic Left Party–in a long and blistering dissent–flatly dismissed the report’s findings as "wrong and misleading."

"The report underestimates the threat of PKK terrorism and instead attempts to place this terrorist organization on equal footing with the Turkish state," they wrote in their draft dissenting statement.

Despite repeated references to the PKK–the parliamentary report failed to state "that the PKK is a terrorist organization," their statement says.

It accused Vermot-Mangold of stating that "she sees the PKK not as a terrorist organization but as one `fighting for the Kurdish people’s rights.’"

"This is totally unacceptable," they wrote.

The full assembly is scheduled to debate the report on June 25–to be followed by a vote.

The PKK is a group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey. The 40-nation Council of Europe was set up after World War Two to promote democracy and human rights.

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