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 Turkey's Erdogan vows further crackdown on Kurdish KCK group

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Turkey's Erdogan vows further crackdown on Kurdish KCK group  8.11.2011  
By staff writers

November 8, 2011

ANKARA,— Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan said on Monday that his government will not ease its crackdown on a Kurd political movement and warned the media that criticising his actions against the KCK amounted to supporting terrorism.

“Regarding the latest operations targeting the KCK, no one should expect them to end,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency in his home city of Rize.

Turkey claims that the KCK is the urban wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed PKK rebel group that has been labelled a "terrorist" organisation by Ankara and several foreign governments.      

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: AFP
Ankara further alleges that the KCK wants to replace Turkish government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia region, which is majority Kurd, with its own political structures.

“There is one state in Turkey: the state of Turkey. There cannot be a second,” Erdogan said.

“Whether in the media or elsewhere, you must be careful what you say about the KCK. This amounts to supporting terrorism,” the prime minister added.

A Turkish court on Nov.1 pressed separatism charges against 23 suspects, in so-called KCK-Trial [Union of Communities in Kurdistan], including a university professor Prof. Busra Ersanli,  a political scientist, and Ragip Zarakolu, a well-known human rights activist and director of Belge Publishing House, on suspicion of membership in a separatist Kurdish PKK rebel group, state-run television reported.

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns columnist and publisher Ragip Zarakolu’s detention since the evening of 28 October, when he and around 40 other people were arrested in a round-up of pro-Kurdish activists in Istanbul.

The International Publishers Association (IPA) condemns the arrest of Zarakolu and called for the immediate release of Zarakolu, "This man does not belong to prison, he deserves a Nobel Prize.", Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee (FTPC), said

The KCK is accused of being the urban wing of the outlawed 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 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 [Till October 2011], the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced. Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in prison.

Intellectuals in Turkey have started a campaign they labelled "We are all KCK". KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) is alleged by the prosecutors to be the "urban wing" of the PKK. ANF news agency reported on Nov.3.

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: AFP | | Agencies

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