Leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have lashed out at a new wave of detentions targeting politicians and activists alleged to have links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), saying police operations amount to “political executions.”
Turkish police on Tuesday detained more than 100 people across Turkey as part of an investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), a political umbrella organization that includes the PKK. Hundreds of people, including elected mayors, are already on trial on charges of ties to the PKK, as part of a two-year old case that has fueled tensions in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.
BDP Deputy Chairperson Gülten Kışanak said in an address to the party’s parliamentary group that a list of people to be detained was handed over to the police by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. “The prime minister handed over the list and the judiciary and police of the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party have launched a hunt for Kurds,” Kışanak told BDP lawmakers in the first meeting of the party in Parliament after the BDP ended a boycott of Parliament on Oct. 1. “Political executions are under way,” said Kışanak.
Several elected BDP deputies are currently in prison for alleged links to the KCK. The BDP boycott was triggered by court rulings barring those deputies from taking their seats.
Kışanak said the number of those sent to jail on charges of links with the KCK has exceeded 5,000 since the investigation was first launched in 2009. The investigation is focused on the KCK, which the PKK established in 2005 with the aim of creating its own Kurdish political system, according to the prosecutors’ indictment.
Some 150 politicians and activists are being tried in Diyarbakır where a large courtroom has been specially built. Similar trials are being held in other cities across Turkey.
Commenting on the KCK detentions, BDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş suggested that the anti-KCK operation were targeting his party. “If this is what the KCK is, then I am the chairman of it because all those detained are members of the BDP,” Demirtaş told reporters after the BDP’s parliamentary group meeting.
During her speech, Kışanak also complained that PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, jailed in an island prison off the coast of İstanbul, has been barred from meeting anyone, including his family, for the past two months. Kışanak added that BDP members would march in the coastal town of Gemlik, where ferries to İmralı Island depart from, on Oct. 8 to protest restrictions on visits to the PKK leader.
04 October 2011, Tuesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,