Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-012"

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". Mr President, first of all, I would like to congratulate Mrs Oomen-Ruijten on this very good report and thank her very much for the excellent cooperation. There are a number of messages contained in this report, and when I visited Turkey with Martin Schulz, these were the messages I was able to convey to the Turkish authorities. Firstly, the reforms must not only be continued but stepped up. The Commissioner has already mentioned Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and other reforms to guarantee full and genuine freedom of expression and plurality of opinion in Turkey. The same naturally applies to freedom of religion and many other issues which will be covered by other colleagues later in the debate. The reform process has to be moved up a gear. Secondly, the Kurdish issue: I would like to make my position here very clear. For many years now, indeed for decades, I have been trying to play my part to help resolve the Kurdish issue, but now the time has come when it is possible to have a political and parliamentary solution to the Kurdish issue and abandon violence. That is why I cannot understand why the PKK is continuing with terrorism. I can understand it because the PKK does not want a peaceful solution, and there may well be some people in the military who do not want a peaceful solution either. Nonetheless, we should send out a clear signal that we do want a peaceful solution, and so does Iraq. We had a meeting with President Talabani’s representative in Ankara and he also made it very clear that what they want is not continued PKK terrorism but a political solution. I would hope that representatives of the Kurdish regional government will heed the message that the continuation of PKK terrorism damages not only Turkey but also Iraq. That is why I myself, and the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, can only endorse this appeal: Turkey and Iraq must come together to work on the basis of peaceful cooperation, which must include the Kurdish regional government, to put an end to terrorism. At the same time, Turkey must make offers to the Kurdish population of Turkey so that they feel comfortable there and can consider Turkey as their home as well."@en1

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