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 Thousands of Kurds protest barring of Kurdish political candidates in Turkey

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Thousands of Kurds protest barring of Kurdish political candidates in Turkey  20.4.2011  







April 20, 2011

ISTANBUL, — Thousands of predominantly Kurdish protestors gathered in Istanbul's Taksim square on Tuesday to rally for their rights and against the banning of Kurdish politicians from the upcoming elections in Turkey.

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 elections.

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 sight.

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 mountains."

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 cannon,
www.ekurd.netthey 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 were angry.

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 rebels.

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 expectations.

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.   

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, Xinhua | peopledaily.com.cn | ekurd.net | Agencies  

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