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 Turkey: Chairman of pro-Kurdish DTP Ahmet Türk resigns

 Source : Turkish Todays.Zaman | AP | AFP | Agencies
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Turkey: Chairman of pro-Kurdish DTP Ahmet Türk resigns  29.5.2008

May 29, 2008

ANKARA, Turkey, —   The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) received a blow from within Tuesday as the chairman of the party's parliamentary group, Ahmet Türk, resigned from his post.

The party has been in chaos for some time now after newly elected party chairman Nurettin Demirtaş had to give up his position when he was arrested and sent to the army for evading his obligatory military service.

It has been speculated that Türk's resignation came as a response to pressure from Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The election of Mardin deputy Emine Ayna as the party's deputy chairwoman in the last party assembly was also perceived as a victory for the Öcalan faction within the party.

Ayna will lead the parliamentary group from now on. Asked whether he will be a candidate for the leadership of the party in the next DTP congress, Türk declined to comment and said he would prefer to discuss the issue when the time comes. The party congress will take place on July 5.

The rivalry in the party between those loyal to Türk and those loyal to Öcalan has been growing for some time now. On Nov. 9, 2007 Türk and his co-chair Aysel Tugluk were forced to leave their posts to make way for Demirtaş and Ayna, who are both known to hold more radical views on the solution of the Kurdish Problem that are more in line with the PKK's ideology.

During Türk's visit to semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in "northern Iraq" on May 7 and 8 the Öcalan faction of the DTP elected Emine Ayna as the new leader of the party and Türk was left with the chairmanship of the parliamentary group. Türk and his group, which includes experienced Kurdish politicians such as Tugluk, Sirri Sakik, Nuri Yaman, Hasip Kaplan and Akin Birdal, have argued that the normalization of Kurdish politics will be possible only after breaking all links between the DTP and Öcalan.

In November, Turkey's top prosecutor asked for the Democratic Society Party — which has 20 seats in Parliament — to be banned, accusing it of being "a focal point" of separatist activities. No hearing date has been set.            

Ahmet Turk resigned from his post as chairman of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) chairman

Emine Ayna

The Turkish authorities seek to ban the only pro-Kurdish DTP party, the DTP demanded more rights for the Kurdish minority and autonomy for the Kurds living in the mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

Since 1984 when the PKK took up arms for self-rule in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

Copyright, respective author or news agency, Todayszaman com | AP | AFP | Agencies

** Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in Turkey and are denied rights granted to other minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and education in the Kurdish language, but critics say the measures do not go far enough.

The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously rejected due to its alleged political implications by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast Turkey.

Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia), which covers an area as big as France, about half of all Kurds which estimate to 20 million live in Turkey.

Turkey is home to 25 million ethnic Kurds, a large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.

Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language, prohibiting the language in education and broadcast media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003

The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it is a criminal offence" 

Southeastern Turkey: North Kurdistan ( Kurdistan-Turkey) wikipedia  


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