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Turkey seeks extradition of Kurdish PKK members
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Turkey seeks extradition of Kurdish PKK
Ankara called Friday for the extradition from
Belgium of two senior members of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party arrested in a Thursday
Belgian authorities raided at least 25 locations
seeking leaders and members of the banned Kurdistan
Workers' Party, or PKK. At least 15 Kurdish
separatists were arrested in the raid.
A report by the Belgian State Security Service in
February said the Kurds, including militant groups,
have a strong presence in European social
In Brussels, the report says, Kurdish supporters
"carry out lobbying activities focused on Belgian
and European institutions."
Turkish diplomatic officials Friday told the
English-language daily newspaper Hurriyet that
authorities have started legal procedures to seek
the extradition of Remzi Kartal and Zubeyir Aydar,www.ekurd.netalleged
European ringleaders of the PKK.
Ankara said that while Turkish authorities played no
role in the raids, they provided key intelligence to
its European counterparts.
Italian authorities announced the arrest of 11
members of the PKK in February raids. French
officials seized nine Kurdish militants in
operations this week.
Since 1984 PKK took up arms for self-rule in the
mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey
(Turkey-Kurdistan) which has claimed around 45,000
lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK
guerrillas. A large Turkey's Kurdish community
openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
The PKK is considered a
'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK
continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite
court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,www.ekurd.net
the party also demanded
an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
Last August, the government announced plans to expand
Kurdish freedoms in a bid to erode popular support
for the PKK and end the insurgency.
Although the drive faltered amid a ban on the
country's main Kurdish DTP party, street protests and PKK
violence, Ankara has vowed to push ahead with the
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