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Turkey passes bill to revive Kurdish peace talks

A Turkish army station is seen above a flag bearing the portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan at a checkpoint manned by Kurdish protestors, in Lice, Diyarbakir province, eastern Turkey, on June 10, 2014Turkish lawmakers Thursday adopted a bill to revive peace talks with Kurdish rebels, in a move the government hopes will rally Kurdish votes to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid to win presidential elections next month. The jailed leader of the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Ocalan, hailed the move as a “historic development” and called on Turkey to implement the law “without losing time”. The law, also deemed as a “turning point” by the government, would grant immunity to key actors including politicians, diplomats and spies involved in peace talks with Kurdish militants. The six-article package of reforms proposed by Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government provides a “legal framework” to advance peace negotiations with the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies.

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