Council of Europe Body Adopts Report on Kurd Treatment

ANKARA (Reuters)–The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly–a 40-nation organization set up to promote democracy and human rights–Thursday approved a text criticizing Turkey’s policy toward the Kurds.

The report was widely amended after Turkish parliamentarians said the original draft–drawn up by a committee under Swiss Socialist deputy Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold–put Turkey on the same level as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Council rejected an original committee demand for an international conference on the issue of the Kurds on the grounds it was a domestic Turkish problem.

The idea of the conference was replaced in the text by a call for a Council delegation to be sent to Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast to hear testimony about events in the region.

Despite the objections–the final text condemned "the evacuation and burning of villages by Turkish armed forces" as well as "violence and terrorism perpetrated by the PKK."

The final report replaced a demand that Ankara try security forces personnel accused of human rights violations with one calling on Ankara to prosecute "anyone" who violated human rights.

The text also called on Turkey to give Kurds better facilities to exercise cultural and political rights and asked Ankara to dissolve the Kurdish "village guard" militia paid to fight the PKK.

Turkey Friday slammed the report by European parliamentarians critical of its treatment of the Kurds–even though the document was watered down following Turkish objections.

"It would have been better if this report had never been written and for it not to have reached this stage," Foreign Ministry spokesman Sermet Atacanli told Reuters.

"This report is far from the truth–full of lies and false claims."

"Some of the extreme clauses were rejected. Not just Turkish MPs but parliamentarians from other countries helped in this," Atacanli said. "It was not just us but other members of parliament who saw the negativity and extremen’ss of the report."

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