Turkey's electoral board declines Kurdish politician's parliament seat

13:41, June 23, 2011      

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Turkey's electoral board declined the seat of a newly elected Kurdish politician in parliament due to his conviction on terrorism-related charges on Wednesday.

"Our people will react to this undemocratic decision," Ahmet Turk, co-chair of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK), told reporters. The state, the government and the judiciary were " trying to block our efforts to create a democratic political ground," Turk, a prominent Kurdish politician said.

The decision aimed "to pull Turkey and our people into a process of conflict," he added.

The High Electoral Board of Turkey announced late Tuesday that Hatip Dicle, who was elected as an independent representative from Diyarbakir city of southeastern Turkey, could not take a seat in the newly elected parliament. He was supported by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which won 36 seats in the 550- member parliament.

Dicle, who is already in prison since 2010, was convicted over a speech making propaganda on behalf of outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2009.

Hatip Dicle's lawyers appealed the electoral board decision on Wednesday. However, Ali Em, chair of the board, said that it was a final ruling which had already been published in the Official Gazette.

Dicle's seat is expected to go to Oye Eronat, candidate of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), raising its seats to 328.

Source: Xinhua
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