ISTANBUL, — Thousands of predominantly
Kurdish protestors gathered in Istanbul's Taksim
square on Tuesday to rally for their rights and
Kurdish politicians from the upcoming elections in
Amidst heavy police presence, the crowd of nearly
2,000 held up banners for the Peace and Democracy
Party (BDP), the Kurd's political party, which
suffered a setback earlier in the week when 12
independent candidates were barred by the High
Council of Elections (YSK) from running in June's
Seven of the 12 barred were supported by the BDP.
Tuesday's protestors held up signs demanding their
rights, such as
Demonstrations in Diyarbakir against the the banning
of Kurdish politicians from the upcoming elections
in Turkey. Protesters held up banners for the Peace
and Democracy Party (BDP).
"The KCK investigation is political genocide,
the ban on Kurdish education is cultural genocide"
and "Police raids will not make us give up."
Protestor Musurhan Topcu said that the government
has crushed voice that stood up for the Kurds, and
that there was no solution to the Kurdish problem in
Another construction worker, Metin Yilmaz, said that
there is no justice for the Kurds. "The only
solution," he added, "will come when every single
Kurd lifts up their arms in protest."
Furniture-maker Hamdi Akti agreed, telling Xinhua
"They are basically closing off the political path
for the Kurds, telling us our path is the
Student Ayvaz Korkmaz said that when Kurds are the
problem, all the opposing political parties unite,
saying the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)
has taken its stand on the side of violence.
As for whether any of the protestors were worried
about clashes with the heavy police presence which
included dozens of riot police and even a water
were all unanimous in saying that they could not.
The barring of the candidates is a serious blow to
Kurdish political ambitions, and many protestors
The 10 percent minimum for national elections means
parties that get less than 10 percent of the vote
cannot participate in parliament. Parties like the
BDP skirt the issue by running candidates as
independents, then assembling the party once their
parliamentarians are in assembly.
Kurds have been very vocal about lowering or
eliminating the minimum limit, saying that it is
undemocratic and excludes them from the process.
Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party 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 a '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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