Monday, June 13, 2011

PKK hails Turkish poll “great victory” for Kurds

Erbil, June 13 (AKnews) – A spokesman for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said on Monday that the Kurds, represented by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), achieved a "great victory" in Turkey's election by increasing their representation in parliament.Ahmed Daniz , Ahmet deniz

The PKK's foreign relations officer, Ahmet Deniz, said that the BDP will now present a real opposition to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan, who secured a third term in power.

Independent candidates, representing the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the country's predominantly Kurdish southeast, polled 5.9% of the national vote (36 seats), failing however to assure a seat in the National Assembly which under the Turkish electoral system, requires a minimum 10% vote.

The AKP fell short of its 330 seat target in Sunday's poll which would have allowed the AKP to unilaterally re-write the Turkish constitution, the 49.9% victory affords the party 326 seats in the 550-seat house.

The Republican People's Party (CHP), the main opposition, bagged 25.9% of the votes - 135 seats – while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) came away with 13% which gives them 53 seats.

"The BDP's victory is great, because there were big challenges facing them and they were under pressure," said Deniz, "the state cooperated with all parties except the BDP, yet the BDP was able to secure 36 seats for its 43 candidates, thus raising Kurdish representation in parliament."

"Now the task of BDP is even greater. They have to focus on two points; changing the Turkish constitution and finding a solution to the Kurdish issue in the country".

Deniz said the Turkish state needs to change its constitution - long criticized by the country's Kurds for failing to recognize their cultural and political rights - because it is not democratic.

The Kurds want the new Turkish constitution to recognize a form of 'democratic autonomy' in the predominantly Kurdish southeast as well as addressing wider issues such as the recognition of a 'Kurdish identity' or the right to education in the Kurdish language.

"The Kurdish issue is a constitutional one that needs to be addressed. Not resolving it will bring about big complications," Deniz said.

In his victory speech, Erdogan was quick to evoke the question of replacing the constitution introduced under martial law in 1982.

"We will discuss the new constitution with opposition parties. This new constitution will meet peace and justice demands," he declared.

Erdogan's opponents say however that the AKP wants to re-write the constitution in order to reinforce its hold on power, and that the Prime Minister is seeking to afford the country's presidency - a post they accuse him of coveting - more executive powers.

The PKK was formed in South-east Turkey by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978.
Formerly a peaceful group made up of students, the PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.
The group has been fighting for greater political and cultural rights for Turkey's 20 million Kurds for nearly three decades.

Around 40,000 people have died in the war against the Turkish military so far, many of them civilians.

Ocalan was arrested in Nairobi in 1999 and is still imprisoned under Turkish custody on the remote Imrali Island.

Since this time, the PKK's struggle has been continued on the political arena

Turkey has officially refused to negotiate with the PKK which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the U.S.

Written by Raber Y. Aziz, reported by Sarbaz Salih