Turkey may cut vote threshold, expand language rights
ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey may reduce the threshold for a political party to enter parliament to 5 percent of the national vote, or even eliminate the barrier completely, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
The current 10 percent threshold has kept pro-Kurdish groupings outside of parliament and a reform that may help advance a flagging peace process with Kurdish militants.
In a major policy speech, Erdogan also said the so-called "democratization package" would allow for education in languages other than Turkish at non-state schools, a long-held demand by Kurdish politicians and activists.
Erdogan has repeatedly said he proposed reforms are not directly linked with efforts to end the 29-year conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
But the changes should go some way towards addressing Kurdish grievances after the PKK declared a ceasefire in March.
"Our people's greatest wish is to strengthen our domestic peace, to develop our social unity and coherence will fortify our tranquility," Erdogan said.