Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Co-chairwoman Gültan Kışanak said on Tuesday that the arrests of members of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the urban arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), are like political genocide, aiming to root out Kurdish politics.
Speaking at her party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Kışanak said a total of 34 individuals were detained on Tuesday alone as part of the KCK probe.
“We are faced with a wave of political genocide,” said she said. The number of people detained in the KCK probe rose to 60 later in the day on Tuesday.
According to the party leader, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin initially said the total number of jailed KCK suspects was 400 and later raised this figure to 600; however, there are actually 5,000 KCK suspects in jail.
“Is there any other organization [than the KCK who has had 5,000 members jailed]?” she asked.
Turkish police have recently stepped up operations against the KCK. The KCK investigation started in December 2009 and a large number of Kurdish politicians, including several mayors from the BDP, have been detained in the case.
The suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country’s unity and integrity. The suspects include mayors and municipal officials from the BDP, which has said the investigation is the government’s method of suppressing its politicians and denies any links between the suspects and any terrorist organizations.
In her speech, Kışanak also dwelled on preparations for the new constitution and said that a constitution that does not resolve the Kurdish problem will not be a new constitution.
“Nobody should expect us to turn a blind eye to our fundamental problems [during the preparation of the new constitution,” she said.
18 October 2011, Tuesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL