Tuesday, December 15, 2009

KSSO press release about closure of DTP

Kurdish Studies and Student Organisation

We, at Kurdish Studies and Student Organization (KSSO) are deeply concerned about the decision by the Turkish Constitutional Court to close down the only pro-Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament, DTP (Demokratik Toplum Partisi – Democratic Society Party).

Since 1991 numerous pro-Kurdish parties (HEP, ÖZDEP, DEP, DDP, DKP, HADEP) in Turkey have been closed. After the closure of DEP (Demokrasi Partisi – Demoracy Party) on 16 June 1994, DTP was the second pro-Kurdish party to represent the Kurds in the Turkish parliament in 14 years. When DEP was closed down the first prominent female Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament, Leyla Zana, was banned from official political activities and stripped of her immunity. In December 1994, along with four other Democracy Party MPs Zana and her colleagues were arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Now DTP has been closed and 37 of its members have been banned from official politics for the next 5 years including the current chairman Ahmet Türk and former chairwomen Aysel Tugluk. Ironically the list includes Kurdish activists and individuals who were not even members of the DTP, like Leyla Zana and Orhan Miroglu.

Many commentators and political analysts have pointed out that this is not a judicial judgment but a politically motivated decision, which criminalizes the legitimate political representation of the Kurdish citizens in Turkey. Over two and a half million citizens of Turkey who have voted for DTP have been disenfranchised by this decision of the Turkish constitutional court. This decision will negate the optimism and opportunities for a political and peaceful solution for Turkey’s urgent Kurdish question.

The UK Kurdish Studies & Student Organisation is a non-political body that strives to promote greater awareness of the Kurds, their political and cultural situation in the Middle East and as a significant minority community in the UK. We, students and academics at KSSO are concerned about this latest development. By banning the DTP, Turkey has closed democratic and peaceful channels for politically raising the Kurdish issue in Turkey and violated Kurdish rights to be represented in Turkish Parliament.

We urge Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of European Parliament (MEPs), human rights organizations and campaigners, academics and trade unions to send a strong message to the Turkish authorities to solve the Kurdish issue peacefully.

KSSO Management committee

14 December 2009