Kurdish Problem Must Be Solved Democratically Says Lagendijk

DIYARBAKIR (Turkish Press)–Joost Lagendijk–Co-chairman of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission–said Tuesday that democracy is the only way to solve the Kurdish problem in Turkey.

In his speech at the "Civil Rights Project in Southeastern Region" meeting in Diyarbakir–Lagendijk noted that dialogue is very important in finding a solution to many of the region’s problems.

Lagendijk said that as long as violence persists in the region–there would not be any investment there–adding that authorities should also focus on the economic and social development of the region. He said that unless Turkey improves the conditions of people living in its southeastern region–it could not be a full member of the EU.

Responding to a question about minorities–Lagendijk said that Europe’s definition of minority is different than Turkey’s.

Lagendijk said that although Kurds do not define themselves as a minority–the EU considers Kurds a minority. He said that the rights of Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin should be improved.

During his visit–Lagendijk also said that all of Europe wants to see Kurdish politicians who strongly denounce violence.

"Europe needs Kurdish politicians who do not follow the PKK and reject violence," he said.

In his meeting with Lagendijk–the leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP)–a pro-Kurdish social democratic party–said that the DTP will do everything possible to end violence in Turkey.

"No problem–including the Kurdish one–can be resolved with guns and violence," said Ahmet Turk.

DTP co-leader Aysel Tugluk stressed that Turkey must make reforms to gain the support of the Kurdish people.

"The Anti-Terror Laws and mass troop deployment around the southeastern border seem to be activities that are taking Turkey back to the old days," commented Tugluk.

Lagendijk said that the rights of Kurds should be defended. He pointed out that the presence of a party that represents the Kurdish people in the Turkish parliament is essential.

"Therefore–the election system in Turkey needs to be changed," stated Lagendijk.

During his visit–Lagendijk also met with Diyarbakir Governor Efkan Ala and Mayor Osman Baydemir.

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