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 Turkish court charges 23 suspects over alleged ties to Kurdish PKK rebels, KCK probe

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Turkish court charges 23 suspects over alleged ties to Kurdish PKK rebels, KCK probe  1.11.2011  
By staff writers

November 1, 2011

ANKARA,— A Turkish court on Tuesday pressed separatism charges against 23 suspects, in so-called KCK-Trial [Union of Communities in Kurdistan], including a university professor and a publisher, on suspicion of membership in a separatist Kurdish PKK rebel group, state-run television reported.

The court in Istanbul said the suspects included Prof. Busra Ersanli and Ragip Zarakolu, a well-known human rights activist and director of Belge Publishing House, according to the state-run TRT channel. They were among about 50 suspects detained over the weekend in a crackdown on the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK.

Ragip Zarakolu, is also the chairman of the Publishers Association Freedom to Publish Committee of Turkey. Zarakolu was taken into custody on October 28, 2011, during a large-scale manhunt in Istanbul against Kurdish and human rights activists.

The court ordered the 23 jailed pending trial, but it was not clear if the rest will also be tried. No trial date has been set.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party BDP said Ersanli was a representative of the party at a parliamentary commission that is     

Ragıp Zarakolu (L) arrested in Turkey in KCK probe. Zarakolu is a Turkish human rights activist and publisher who has long faced legal harassment for publishing books on controversial subjects in Turkey, especially on minority and human rights in Turkey.
seeking reconciliation in drafting a new constitution and that her detention was detrimental to peace efforts in the country.

The trial comes amid intensified clashes between Kurdish rebels and Turkish troops in the Kurdish region in southeast Turkey.

The KCK is accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is itself listed as a "terrorist" organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

KCK-trial, on October 18, 2010 a Turkish court began the trial of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders, accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed separatist Kurdish (Kurdistan Workers' Party) PKK rebels.

Over 7748 people were taken into custody and 3895 persons were arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past six months, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced. Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in prison.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

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.

The PKK is considered as '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. 

Sources: AP | | AFP | Agencies

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