Leyla Zana and 11 other Kurdish
politicians barred from running for Turkish
Kurdish politicians barred from running for Turkish
ISTANBUL, — Turkey's elections board
ruled on Monday that 12 Kurdish politicians who had
registered as independent candidates in national
elections set for June were ineligible to run for
parliament because of their prior terrorism-related
convictions, the semi-official Anatolia Agency
Dozens of Kurdish politicians who support the
pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) had
announced that they would run as independent
candidates in the upcoming elections in an attempt
to get over the 10 percent threshold in Turkey for
parties to enter parliament.
Turkey's board of elections ruled that 12 of the
candidates were ineligible to run because they had
previously been convicted of taking part in or
supporting terrorist activities.
The politicians include
Leyla Zana, who
caused an uproar when she attempted to make a speech
in Kurdish after being sworn into the Turkish
Parliament in 1991.
Zana was convicted of membership in the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - considered a
"terrorist" group by the European Union and the
United States - and spent 10 years in prison.
The European Court of Human Rights later ruled that
Turkey had violated Zana's right to freedom of
expression and ordered the government to pay her
Turkey's prominent outspoken Kurdish rights advocate Leyla
Zana, former Kurdish MP in Turkey Zana spent a
decade behind bars in Turkey for speaking Kurdish in
the Turkish Parliament after taking her
parliamentary oath. She was the first Kurdish woman
to be elected to Turkey's parliament.
YSK banned Tuncel, Kışanak, Dicle, Zana, Kurkcu,
Yildiz, Gurbuz from elections.
Selahattin Demirtas, chairman of the BDP,
called the election board's decision
'a political operation; a political purge' that
would benefit the ruling Justice and Development
Party (AKP) in the elections.
'The state has decided to hand over [Turkey's
south-eastern] region to the AKP,' Demirtas told
Turkey has long surpressed attempts at autonomy by
Kurds in the east of the country,www.ekurd.netleading
to a three-decade long insurgency in which thousands
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.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous 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
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
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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