Kurdish legislators set for boycott

Kurdish MPs prepare for parliamentary boycott after Turkey outlaws party.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Diyarbakir ahead of the DTP meeting on Monday
Thousands of people lined the streets of Diyarbakir ahead of the DTP meeting on Monday

The party will formally cease to exist when the court ruling is published in the official gazette.

Party officials were meeting in the city of Diyarbakir on Monday to decide whether the 19 parliamentarians should formally resign from their seats later in the day.

‘Show of defiance’

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Diyarbakir, said riot police were deployed in the streets ahead of the DTP meeting.

She said it had a lot of symbolic meaning for the party to meet in the predominately Kurdish city where the DTP runs the local government.

“It’s a show of defiance to the government that they still have a lot of support.

“A convoy [with DTP officials] will be travelling through the streets, greeted by supporters.

“People here feel that the only party that won out of the decision to ban the DTP is the PKK.

“[Prime minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan wanted to erode popular support for the PKK but now people here are saying they want to ‘take to the mountains’ – [meaning] they want to join the PKK movement.

Violent protests

The DTP was left with 19 members in the 550-seat legislature after two of its leaders, including Turk, were stripped of their seats as part of Friday’s verdict.

The remaining 19 parliamentarians can sit as independents or regroup under the banner of a new party.

Huseyin Bagci, a political analyst in the Turkish capital, Ankara, told Al Jazeera the Kurds were likely to form another party “very soon” and the DTP’s closure would lead to increased tensions in Turkey.

“I think the fight of PKK is not anymore on the mountains but it will be in the cities , the big cities, in particular in Istanbul, probably Izmir, in Ankara, in Mersin.”

The DTP is preparing to appeal its closure at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, a party official said.

The ban of the party has angered Kurds across the country. Activists clashed with police and Turkish nationalists in several cities over the weekend and at least 60 people were detained.

A group of party supporters threw stones and firebombs at shops,
apartment buildings and cars in one of Istanbul’s busiest streets on Sunday.

One person was reportedly injured.

The European Union has expressed concern over the ban, saying in a statement that “while strongly denouncing violence and terrorism, the presidency recalls that the dissolution of political parties is an exceptional measure that should be used with utmost restraint.”

The DTP is the 27th party to be shut down in Turkey since 1968.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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