Turkish PM signals no lowering of election threshold

Turkish PM signals no lowering of election threshold

Turkish PM signals no lowering of election threshold

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. AFP photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled no withdrawal of Turkey’s 10 percent election threshold, while also adding that only 10 to 15 percent of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants have pulled out from Turkish soil so far.

During his address at the group of Wise Persons in Istanbul on June 26, Erdoğan said the government had no plans to lower the 10 percent election threshold.

Instead, he said that “parties should work hard to pass it.”

The Wise Persons commission, which was gathered by the government as part of the recent bid to find a solution to the Kurdish issue, submitted their final reports to the prime minister on June 26. The group travelled through Turkey for two months in order to take the pulse of the nation about the Kurdish issue resolution process.

At the meeting in Istanbul, Erdoğan also said only a small proportion of outlawed PKK militants had left Turkish soil. The withdrawal rests on an agreement reached in March this year between Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of PKK, and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), after official negotiations started early January.

“We are at the early stages of this process. The ones who stay in Turkey are proving to be problematic,” said Erdoğan.

The prime minister also said there were no preparations for further official education in mother tongues. “The only official language is Turkish,” Erdoğan said. He stressed that Kurdish was now offered as an elective course in schools and also as private lessons, while also noting that Kurdish language departments were now open in universities.