By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
On Saturday Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the city of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey with the leader of the Kurds of northern Iraq, Masud Barzani.
The visit is considered important as Barzani has many years to visit Turkey and Diyarbakir in particular where 85% of the population is Kurdish.
According to Turkisg daily Cumhuriyet, the pro-Kurdish Peace & Democracy party (BDP) believes the Turkish Prime Minister is trying to win Kurdish votes ahead of local elections to be held in the spring of 2014.
Siwan Perver, the most famous Kurdish singer in Turkey, will be joining Barzani. He hasn’t visit Turkey since 1980.
These developments are seen as part of Erdogan’s election campaign. This is why Kurds are calling their compatriots not to join in the festive atmosphere Erdogan wants to create.
In Diyarbakir, which is considered a Kurdish stronghold in Turkey, extraordinary security measures are being taken by police and the army in order to deter any provocation.
Meanwhile, there are rumors in Turkey that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan gave the government a four month extension to deliver on its pledges concerning the resolution of the Kurdish issue as he believes the Erdogan administration has not taken necessary steps towards a permanent solution. This is why the PKK has halted the retreat of rebels from southeast Turkey.
In secret talks with Ocalan the Turkish government had promised to allow the teaching of Kurdish in all the schools in southeast Turkey as well as the release of thousands of Kurds held in Turkish prisons. Instead, Erdogan only announced the lifting of a ban of teaching the Kurdish language in private schools.