Tens of thousands of Kurds in southeast Turkey have given a thumbs down to a series of government reforms designed in part to salvage a peace process with Kurdish insurgents.
Protesters waved banners declaring their disappointment that the measures did not include setting jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan free.
Emine Ayna of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party addressed the crowd: “You have expressed your will with this march and you have shown that the only reform package that you will recognise is a status for Kurdistan and freedom for our leader Mr. Ocalan.”
Although many Kurds said the reforms announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had not gone far enough others were less dismissive of his so-called “democratisation package”
“These revisions are good, I believe there will be more reforms. They will clear the way for individual rights and freedoms and a new dress code in public places is also worth noting,” said local resident Tevfik Barut.
The dress code refers to the lifting of a ban on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public spaces
One main grievance addressed by Erdogan was the proposal to reduce the threshold for a political party to enter parliament to five percent. Until now the ten percent bar has kept pro-Kurdish groups out.