Turkey: DTP party ban triggers mass protests over Turkish Kurdistan

On December 11, the Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) was shut down by the Constitutional Court of Turkey, unanimously. The charges where in connection to a terrorist organization aka the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) of Abdullah Öcalan, who is currently in jail.

Ottoman's Posterous says:

The Constitutional Court on Friday banned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on charges of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). PKK has been labeled as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

The 37 DTP members on the Turkish parliament and local parliamentarians were also banned and – and so was the party leader, Ahmet Turk – who were all banned from politics for a five year term.

The DTP holds 21 of 500 seats at the Turkish Parliament and two of the parliament members have been banned, leavind 19 with the hard decision to abandon or hold on to their seats.

The Kurdistan Commentary explains:

Ahmet Türk along with Aysel Tuğluk have been removed from Parliament, but not the other 19 DTP members.  The choice for the remaining parliamentarians is to stay on and fight in Parliament, as Türk would like to see happen.  Emine Ayna, DTP deputy chair, on the other hand, seems to favour a complete withdrawal from Parliament.

Eusko Blog denounces the developments saying:

Desde su fundación en 1963, el Constitucional ha ilegalizado veinticuatro partidos, entre ellos seis formaciones kurdas.
Los 37 miembros del DTP, incluido su presidente Ahmet Türk, no podrán participar en ninguna actividad política durante cinco años. Además, Kilic ordenó que las cuestas bancarias del partido sean intervenidas.

Since it's foundation in 1963, the Constitutional has illegalized 24 political parties, amongst them six Kurdish parties.
The 37 DTP members, incluiding it's president Ahmet Turk, will not be able to participate in any political activities for five years. Furthermore, Kilic ordered an intervention on the party bank accounts.

On the provinces where Kurdish candidates were elected, new elections will have to be called and the 19 members left of the DTP-now illegalized party- already announced they'll abandon their seats.

Móndivers adds:

Davant d’aquesta situació, els 19 parlamentaris restants del DTP han decidit avui dilluns de retirar-se del Parlament de Turquia, segons explica el digital en línia especialitzat en l’actualitat turca Turquie News. Encara caldrà veure si la retirada del Parlament és momentània o definitiva. Per constituir grup propi a la cambra calen 20 escons; ara, al DTP n’hi manca un. Però un diputat independent socialista, Ufuk Uras, s’ha ofert als diputats kurds per tal de poder formar grup.

Given the situation, the 19 remaining DTP parliamentarians have today, Monday, decided to withdraw from Turkey's Parliament, according to online digital specialist on Turkish facts Turkish News. It is still to be seen whether the withdrawal is temporary or permanent. To establish itself in the chamber as a group, they need 20 seats. Now, the DTP lacks one. But an independent deputy, the socialist Ufuk Uras, has offered his seat to Kurdish deputies in order to form a group.

The European Union already expressed their “concern” as I quote Gara's newspaper:

La presidencia sueca de la UE ha valorado la ilegalización del DTP y ha indicado en un comunicado que, a la vez que “denuncia firmemente la violencia y el terrorismo”, recuerda que la disolución de partidos políticos es “una medida excepcional que debería ser empleada con la mayor moderación”.

The Swedish EU presidency has assessed and indicated in a statement that, while “strongly denounces violence and terrorism,” recalls that the dissolution of political parties is “an exceptional measure that should be used with most restraint.”

Some sources agree that, now, Turkey has even more problems to join the European Union as this last move shows a complete lack of respect by the democratic rights of it's national minorities and democracy itself.

The Independent Kurdistan Journalism blog says:

Turkey's pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the ruling of a Constitutional Court in Istanbul ordering it be disbanded. Former DTP leader Ahmed Turk told reporters Sunday that his party would appeal the court ruling at the Strasbourg, France-based ECHR after the ruling was published in the Official Gazette.

In the aftermath of the decision, protests erupted [es] all over Turkey and, by now, there are already two Kurdish militants dead [pt] in the city of Mus and tension has reached its top level in years while violent protests continue.

Ottoman's Posterous gives us further information:

Two people died and eight others were wounded in the eastern Muş province after a shopkeeper reportedly opened fire on protestors staging an illegal demonstration in opposition of the closure of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). One shopkeeper was detained for opening fire on the protesters, state-run news agency Anatolian reported.Protestors broke store windows and threw Molotov cocktails while storekeepers were inside their workplaces. The demonstration organizers made a statement to the press at the center of the Bulanık district and began marching toward 700.Yıl Street. The demonstration turned violent when some protestors began launching Molotov cocktail attacks, which set one store ablaze. A shopkeeper opened fire on the crowd, and Kemal Kayacan and Nejmi Oral were killed.

The fatalities were the first after days of violence and street protests following a Constitutional Court ruling on Friday to ban the only Kurdish party in parliament.

A student was killed in clashes with police a week earlier as tensions began to rise in southeastern Turkey.


  • Tolga

    “Turkish Kurdistan”? what in the blazes is that? I can’t find it on my map. There’s only Turkey. Keep on dreaming

  • Adam

    Thank you for the article. This problem needs to be solved within Turkey. Banning political parties and violently suppressing protestors (and I’m not simply talking about this one protest) is not the way to solve a brewing problem. There are at least 15 million Kurds living in Turkey who are not allowed to learn their own language, it is a place where their cultural identity is banned, they are portrayed as animals in the larger media system and the government spends barely any money on infrastructure and other fundamental civil services within these areas. When and how this will stop will depend on how much Turkey and the elites within the military would like this episode to unfold.

    • Ayse

      We should not allow Kurds as refugees when they were running away from Saddam. Even Saddam could not handle their violence and kicked them out of their country. Now I can see better that these people have no remorse or appreciation for having a new country to live in. We pay for their luxuries by working our backside off and they just fight for land for themselves without doing anything for this country. You people just talk about human rights. What happened to all those innocent people who died because of Abdullah Ocalan? Weren’t they human also and had the right to live peacefully? All those babies and young people died because of him. Who is going to adjust this unfairness? If you want to help Kurdish people, please take them to your own countries and feed them while they make violence for their idiot leader to be released.

  • Thnsk, Adam.

    The situation of Turkey is quite similar with the one of Spain and the Basque Country. An oppressive state against a minoritie that demans their rights to be recognized and fully accepted.

    Turkey is not an example of respect over it’s minorities, we can easily remember of the armenian genocide, the pontic greek genocide and the assirian genocide. Turkey does not recongnize that did any harm to those people as they can’t see a problem in killing Kurds.

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