Kurdish militants say Turkey's rights reforms not aimed at peace

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media in Ankara September 30, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said on Tuesday Turkey's proposals to expand human rights were not aimed at ending the conflict with Kurdish insurgents and that its armed wing would issue a declaration next week setting out its response.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan outlined the reforms in a policy speech on Monday, include expanding language rights and changing the voting system, both Kurdish demands as part of a fragile peace process.

Kurdish politicians said on Monday the reforms did not go far enough.

"It is apparent that the (ruling) AK Party does not understand the Kurdish problem and is not serious in its approach," the PKK leadership, based in northern Iraq, said in a statement. "This package (of reforms) shows the only thing that is being considered is winning another election."

Erdogan's government has been in talks with the outlawed PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, for almost a year to negotiate an end to a 29-year conflict for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey that has killed more than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds.

The PKK declared a ceasefire in March. Since then, it has criticized the pace of political reforms and in September halted its withdrawal of fighters from Turkish soil.

Turkey holds local elections in March 2014.

"Tossing out a few crumbs to stall (the process) shows this government lacks the mentality and capacity for a solution," the PKK statement said.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Janet Lawrence)