From Mizgin at Rasti.
AMED -- In what both normal people and political activists here are considering a serious blow to the fragile hopes generated by the government's already highly tentative and uncertain "democratic opening'', on the morning of 11 September 17 senior members of the DTP were detained in dawn raids on private homes across the southeast, local media here reported.
The arrests were reportedly carried out by the 'anti-terror' units of the local police forces on the orders of the offices of public prosecutors. Most of the detainees were brought to the main police station in Diyarbakır, including those who were apprehended in other parts of the southeast.
Those detained included chairman of Diyarbakır city council and former mayor of Lice Şeymus Bayhan, former mayor of Bağlar Yurdusev Özsökmenler, former Bismil mayor Şükran Aydın, former Şırnak mayor Ahmet Ertak, and other leading officials currently serving in southeastern municipalities, the DTP, and social movements connected to the DTP.
The operation, which is being called an extension of the one which was initated against the DTP on April 14 following their success in the 29 March local elections, generated immediate resistance from the party and social movements in solidarity with them. Hundreds of supporters attended a press conference at 11:30 in the morning on September 11, and thousands a protest march on the afternoon of 12 September.
The 12 September rally began in front of the DTP's major building in Diyarbakır and continued with a march to Koşuyolu park. The crowd chanted slogans in favor of the PKK and it's jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The speeches made by senior DTP politicians were characteristically sober, defiant, and optimistic.
Addressing the assembly, chairperson of the DTP in Diyarbakır and former mayor of Yenişehir Fırat Anlı asserted that neither the leadership nor the grassroots of the DTP would be intimidated by the state's crackdown, pointing out that they had passed through that phase long ago. He characterized the arrests as an assault on the political will of the Kurdish people.
Member of Parliament from Mardin and DTP co-chairperson Emine Ayna expressed regret that, although tens of thousands of people (under DTP leadership) had rallied behind the slogan ''yes to an honorable peace'' and pledged to support to the government's 'democratic opening' only ten days previously, the party was answered with a fresh wave of repression.
She said the attack was a 'provocation' carried out in unity by the state 'as a whole', apparently rejecting the common idea that there is a split between the military, the police and the rest of the state establishment in their approach to the Kurdish freedom movement.
Ending her speech, Ayna pointed out that Kurdish people had continuously changed the Turkish Republic since it was founded in 1923. She reminded people that there was once a struggle only to affirm the existence of the Kurds as a people, never mind a comprehensive democratization of the country.
She said that if it's possible to speak of Kurdish language courses or Kurdology institutes at universities, it's because the Kurdish people created them through their struggles. She then called for a normalization of the political situation in Turkey and vowed continued resistance until the Kurdish people are victorious.
Indeed, the DTP has pledged to remain mobilized against the operations until all their comrades are released, including those detained on 11 September and on and after 14 April. Meanwhile, it seems that almost all the optimism created by the 'democratic opening' has dissipated, as both civil and military operations against the Kurdish freedom movement appear to be escalating.