Turkey arrests 66 for suspected ties to
Kurd rebels in anti-KCK operations
November 26, 2011
ANKARA, — Turkey's courts in Istanbul and
mainly Kurdish southeast province of Diyarbakir
ordered the arrest of 66 people on Saturday for
suspected links to outlawed Kurdish PKK rebels,
media reports said.
Thirty-four out of 43 people who were transferred to
the courthouse in Istanbul were arrested and nine
were released, the Anatolia news agency said, after
earlier reporting 33 arrests.
In Diyarbakir, the court ordered the arrest of 32
people for the same charges, said Anatolia.
Those arrested are accused of having links to the
Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which Turkey
claims to be the urban wing of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Since 2009, some 700 people have been arrested over
their alleged links to the KCK, according to
government figures, although the Peace and Democracy
Party (BDP) puts the figure at more than 3,500.
Five BDP parliamentarians and two prominent
intellectuals -- publisher Ragip Zarakolu and
academic Busra Ersanli -- are in custody on the same
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier
this month that his government would not ease its
crackdown on the KCK,www.ekurd.net
which Ankara claims wants to replace Turkish
government institutions in the southeastern Anatolia
region with its own political structures.
According to the pro-Kurdish BDP statement, over
people taken into custody in the last
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.
A Turkish court on Nov.1 pressed separatism charges
against 23 suspects, in so-called KCK-Trial, 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
Intellectuals in Turkey have started a campaign they
are all KCK". KCK is alleged by the
prosecutors to be the "urban wing" of the PKK. ANF news agency
reported on Nov.3.
Amnesty International has long held
regarding Turkey’s anti-terrorism legislation and
its application. The definition of terrorism in this
law is overly broad, vague and lacks the level of
legal certainty required by international human
rights law. Fundamentally, it defines terrorism by
its political aims rather than its tactics.
Provisions criminalising membership of a terrorist
organization have also led to abuses. Persons can be
found guilty of membership of a terrorist
organization without being a member of the
organization if found to have committed a crime ‘in
the name of such an organization’.
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
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
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
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
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.
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