LETTER: Turkey must talk to the Kurds

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From Mr Mizgin Sen

Sir: "Turkish democrat" Sinan Akinal (Letters, 9 January) criticises the call by Tony Benn et al for a positive response from the next Turkish government to the Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) ceasefire. This can only mean that Mr Akinal favours a military solution to the conflict in Kurdistan. The fact that the Turkish state has answered the Kurdish question by armed force, and still failed to eradicate Kurdish identity, shows the bankruptcy of this policy.

It is not Turkey's "sectarian society" but the official Kemalist ideology of a unitary, monolingual Turkish nationalist state that has led to repression in Kurdistan and the undermining of democracy in Turkey. Mr Akinal says it would be "unrealistic to expect [the PKK] to engage in a democratic dialogue", yet this is exactly what has been offered by the ceasefire.

Mr Ocalan, the PKK chair, has said he wishes to see the Turkish government, if it will not talk with him, negotiating with other representatives of the Kurdish people who cannot, in any way, be stigmatised as "terrorists".

Tony Benn is quite right. There can be no democracy in Turkey until there is a just political solution to the Kurdish question.

Yours faithfully,

Mizgin Sen

Co-ordinator

Kurdistan Information Centre

London, EC1

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