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Turkish PM says Kurdish party stoking tensions

A civil disobedience campaign prompts Turkey's PM to accuse the Kurdish party of provoking tensions

AP , Tuesday 5 Apr 2011
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Turkey's prime minister on Tuesday accused a Kurdish political party of provoking tensions in the country's largely Kurdish southeast ahead of parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks were in response to a campaign of civil disobedience by pro-Kurdish activists and politicians aimed at pushing for greater cultural and political rights for Kurds ahead of June 12 elections.

"The BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) has once again adopted tensions and politics of provocations as a propaganda method," Erdogan told his lawmakers during a meeting in Parliament.

The government has already granted more cultural rights including broadcasts on television in the Kurdish language.

The measures, however, failed to satisfy Kurdish activists and attacks by Kurdish rebels have surged recently.

Erdogan blamed the rebels who ended a six-month-long unilateral cease-fire last month of using violence to influence politics ahead of the elections.

"Turkey will foil these dirty games," Erdogan said without elaborating.

Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party is expected to win the elections to secure a third consecutive term in office since coming to power in 2002.

The pro-Kurdish party Peace and Democracy Party, enjoying strong support in the southeast, is again expected to field independent candidates to run for Parliament to circumvent a 10 percent national threshold. Once elected, the pro-Kurdish lawmakers would later regroup under their party's roof within Parliament.

The Kurdish conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since the rebels took up arms for autonomy in 1984.

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