Kurds to Stay In Turkish Parliament

Decision is giving hope that it may lead to an easing of political tensions

Dorian Jones

A group of Kurdish politicians say they have reconsidered a decision to resign from Turkey's parliament after their political party was banned. The decision is giving hope that it may lead to an easing in escalating political tensions in the country.

Up until the last minute, the 19 deputies of the pro-Kurdish, Democratic Society Party, or DTP, seemed determined to carry out their threat to resign from parliament.

But, in the end,  they withdrew the threat and announced they were joining a party called Peace and Democracy, or BDP.

Ahmet Turk, the leader of the DTP, explained, saying, "in order to enhance our belief in democracy, in peace, in brotherhood, and in order to practice our democratic politics for the brotherhood of people, we decided to continue with the Peace and Democracy Party.  He says our struggle and persistence is a clear sign of the utmost importance we give to democracy. It is a clear sign that we defend peace and not violence.

The politicians had come under pressure from both Turkish and Kurdish activists to stay in parliament to demonstrate their commitment resolving the Kurdish conflict.
Tensions have been rising across the country following the closure of the DTP after it was found guilty by Turkey's constitutional court of supporting Kurdish rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. The PKK has been fighting the Turkish state for greater Kurdish rights for more than 25 years, a conflict that has claimed over 40,000 lives.

According to Turk the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said he opposed them leaving parliament. Turks says on Wednesday, Ocalan met with his lawyers and he shared with them that to leave parliament is not the right move and our struggle should continue within parliament.

Though some political analysts says the decision of the DTP not to resign eased a further ratcheting up of tensions, political columnist Nuray Mert warns the government it needs to regain momentum on the Kurdish issue. "At this moment they've lost all their control, especially concerning the Kurdish problem or Kurdish region. The government has only basic state control there. Even if  they had some, they lost all their moral superiority. So this problem may even become or difficult to handle," he said. 

The decision by the Kurdish deputies offers the hope of breaking the spiral of ongoing ethnic tensions, which some observers say was threatening to tear the country apart. The government now has a chance to pursue its efforts to bring peace.

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs