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 Turkey's pro-Kurdish lawmakers rejoin Kurdish party

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Turkey's pro-Kurdish lawmakers rejoin Kurdish party  30.7.2007 

 



July 30, 2007

ANKARA, Turkey,-- A group of 20 Kurdish lawmakers, elected to parliament as independents, rejoined a Kurdish party Sunday that seeks more rights for the ethnic minority, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

Kurdish lawmakers won 23 seats in the 550-seat parliament in last week's general elections, returning to parliament for the first in more than a decade.

Twenty of them joined the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, on Sunday, Anatolia reported. The party's candidates ran in the election as independents to circumvent a 10-percent vote threshold required to win representation in parliament.

At least 20 lawmakers were needed to regroup under the party banner and the rest were expected to join the party later on. Officials from the pro-Kurdish party were scheduled to petition the parliament Monday to register the party in the parliament.

Several Kurdish lawmakers were ousted from parliament in 1994 for having ties to Kurdish rebels.

Turkey has been fighting rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, since 1984 when the PKK took up arms for self-rule in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

All three other parties that won seats in parliament have refused to cooperate with Kurdish lawmakers unless they denounce the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Pro-Kurdish politicians have refrained from doing so.

Turkey has threatened to stage an incursion into northern Iraq if the United States and Iraqi authorities fail to crackdown on Kurdish rebel bases there.

Kurdish guerrillas have killed more than 70 soldiers this year.

In the latest violence on Sunday, Kurdish guerrillas killed one Turkish soldier and wounded two others in a clash near the southeastern city of Mardin, Anatolia reported.

Copyright , respective author or news agency, AP

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