Sunday, December 27, 2015

Turkey's Kurds call for self-rule amid violence in southeast

ANKARA (Reuters) - Kurdish groups meeting in southeastern Turkey called for self-rule on Sunday amid heavy fighting in the region as the army pushed ahead with a security operation in which it says more than 200 Kurdish militants have been killed.

The Democratic People's Congress (DTK), made up of Kurdish non-governmental organizations, made the call after a two-day meeting in Diyarbakir.

"The rightful resistance mounted by our people against the policies that degrade the Kurdish problem, is essentially a demand and struggle for local self-governance and local democracy," said the final resolution of the meeting, titled "declaration of political resolution regarding self-rule".

The declaration called for the formation of autonomous regions including several neighboring provinces of Diyarbakir to take account of cultural, economic and geographic affinities.

The call could escalate tensions between Kurds and the Turkish government as the government adamantly opposes a separate Kurdish state.

President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech late on Saturday that Turkey would never allow the formation of another state within its borders.

"Now they are talking about separating our land in this country. With God's permission, we will never allow a surgery on the unity of our country," he said.