Turkey's top court bans pro-Kurdish party DTP

11:42, December 12, 2009      

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Turkish Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic speaks at a press conference in Ankara, capital of Turkey, Dec. 11, 2009. Turkish Constitutional Court, the country's top court, decided on Friday to ban the Democratic Society Party (DTP) on charges of its ties with the illegal Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). (Xinhua/Anatolia News Agency)


Turkish Constitutional Court, the country's top court, decided on Friday to ban the Democratic Society Party (DTP) on charges of its ties with the illegal Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic said the DTP was closed down due to its connections with the PKK and "because it became a focal point of the activities against the country's inseparable unity."

Announcing the verdict after nine-hour deliberations on the fourth day of the case, Kilic said that 37 DTP members, including Chairman Ahmet Turk and legislator Aysel Tugluk, were banned from politics for five years.

The two lawmakers will also be expelled from the parliament after the court ruling is published on the Official Gazette, Kilic was quoted as saying.

Chief Public Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya filed a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court on Nov. 16, 2007, asking for the closure of the DTP since it allegedly became a center of actions against Turkey's unity.

In response to the verdict, Turk told reporters Friday Turkey could only resolve its problems though dialogue, not by banning political parties.

"Obstruction of democratic politics will deepen hopelessness," Turk was quoted as saying by Anatolia. He said the DTP would make a statement on Saturday.

Founded in 2005, the DTP currently has 21 seats in the parliament. The party won the 2009 local elections in nine provinces, including Diyarbakir, Batman, Hakkari, Igdir, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli, Bingol and Van.

Kilic denied that the timing of the ruling was related to an ongoing government initiative to broaden rights for the country's Kurdish minority, which met harsh criticism from opposition parties.

"The case has lasted for more than two years. We have never made evaluations or opinions related to the initiative," the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News quoted Kilic of saying Friday.

Kilic said a political party that attempts to legitimize terror and violence has no right to suggest improvements for society, the newspaper reported on its website.

In November, the government revealed details of a reform plan to give Kurds more rights and freedom to end decades-long conflicts with the PKK, which have killed some 40,000 people in Turkey.

Established in 1978, the PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. The group is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.

Source: Xinhua
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