Turkey probes Kurdish lawmakers for
meeting PKK rebels
August 19, 2012
Kurdish MPs from
BDP-DTK carried out a survey in Semdinli
area in Turkey's Kurdistan region. Photo: ANF
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ISTANBUL,— Prosecutors in Turkey are
investigating an impromptu roadside meeting at which
pro-Kurdish MPs smiled and embraced separatist
militants in the southeast of the country, an act
which drew strong criticism from senior political
leaders on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The incident happened on Friday when Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) rebels set up a roadblock and
stopped a Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) convoy.
Newspaper photos showed the MPs embracing five
militants, who had rifles slung over their
The PKK is considered ass '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.
Kurdish politicians, including those from the BDP,
are frequently prosecuted for alleged links to the
PKK, but deny ties with the militants. Previous
Kurdish parties similar to the BDP have been closed
down for such links.
"Those images are very saddening," President
Abdullah Gul told reporters on Sunday after prayers
at a mosque to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim feast at
the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"I warn all citizens that they must distance
themselves very clearly from those who are embroiled
in violence, blood and terrorism," he added.
The state prosecutor's office in the eastern Kurdish
province of Van has begun a preliminary
investigation into the
Hakkari province's Semdinli district in Turkey's
Kurdistan region, under anti-terrorism laws,
state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
Prosecutors would ask parliament to lift the MPs'
immunity from prosecution, it added.
Friday's incident occurred when the BDP delegation,
led by deputy party leader Gultan Kisanak and
including eight other MPs, was travelling to a
village in Semdinli.
KURDISH MPS DEFEND
Aysel Tugluk, an independent MP in the group,
defended their actions when asked about the
"We are happy about the encounter. It was meaningful
and significant for us to at least hear from them
how they are fighting and in what circumstances,"
"They (prosecutors) can open as many investigations
and impose as many penalties as they like," she told
Semdinli is a mountainous area on the border with
Iran and Iraq, where the several-thousand strong
militant force is based. In recent weeks it has been
the scene of intense fighting between the PKK and
the Turkish military.
Ankara has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
of giving the militants weapons and of allowing a
PKK proxy party to exert its authority in towns in
northern Syria - a move which has prompted threats
of military intervention from Turkey.
The PKK has recently revived the practice of setting
up roadblocks in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey to
spread party propaganda and to kidnap Turkish
officials. Most recently,www.ekurd.net
it seized an opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)
deputy in Tunceli province, releasing him unharmed
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan commented on both
incidents on Sunday, criticising both the kidnapped
CHP deputy and the BDP for refusing to label the PKK
a terrorist group.
"Why? Because the separatist terrorist organisation
is the reason for their existence or their entry
into parliament," Erdogan told reporters.
"They enter parliament thanks to the fear which the
separatist terrorist organisation creates in
society," he said.
The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem,
Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.
Since it was established in 1984, the 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
The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional
self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.
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
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