News / USA

    Release of Radical Group's Leaders Causes Shock in Turkey

    Plainclothes policemen and workers recover the remains of a missing person killed by radical islamic guerrillas, from a site in the southern Turkish city of Adana (File Photo)
    Plainclothes policemen and workers recover the remains of a missing person killed by radical islamic guerrillas, from a site in the southern Turkish city of Adana (File Photo)

    There is a political storm raging in Turkey over the release of the leaders of a radical islamic Kurdish group from prison. Called Hizbullah, the group is blamed for the torture and killing more than 100 people in its battle with the Kurdish separatist organization the PKK.

    When the leading members of Hizbullah were sprung from jail in early January, their release caused shock around Turkey.

    "They killed so many people, seen as sympathetic of PKK, especially lawyers, teachers, some civil societies people," said journalist Rusen Cakir, an expert on the group. "And in the beginning of 2000 security forces discovered so many people killed by people by Hizbullah after having  being tortured by Hizbullah. So it maybe most terrifying political organization of Turkish republic."

    Hizbullah, unrelated to the Lebanese Hezbollah, is believed by many to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people during the mid-1990s, the worst years of the conflict between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and Turkish government forces. Hizbullah came to prominence in the late 1980s in southeastern Turkey. Some experts say its aim is to destroy the secular order and spread “true Islam” throughout the country, by force if necessary. However, strong claims have surfaced over the years that it was the state itself that established the organization to fight the PKK through illegal means, such as summary executions.

    Rusen Cakir believe the state did use Hizbullah for this purpose:

    "Public enemy of number one for the state was PKK," said Cakir. "So sure that Hizbullah by fighting PKK were encouraged, supporters or sponsored by different status apparatus."

    But when Hizbullah starting targeting government officials, Turkish security forces killed its leader and arrested the remaining Hizbullah leadership.

    In the wake of the arrests, Hizbullah began moving away from violence and set up numerous organizations providing charity for the Kurdish  poor. At the same time, members began advocating its radical Islamic agenda.

    The group now is believed to be one of the most powerful organizations in the predominately Kurdish southeast.

    In early January, Hizbullah leaders were leased from jail allegedly due to a law limiting the arrest period for unconvicted people. Their release comes as the government suffered several electoral defeats in the predominately Kurdish southeast to a resurgent Kurdish nationalist movement. Leader of the main opposition Kemal Kilicdaroglu says that is no coincidence:

    "Your MPs, in Batman and Van, did they go to the offices of Hizbullah Society or not? Why is the prime minister not calling Hizbullah a terrorist organization? Could it be because of their partnership in the Southeast?" said Kilicdaroglu.

    But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismisses those accusations.

    "To connect AKP with Hizbullah or any other terror organization is tactlessness and cowardice," he said. "Where is the evidence?

    Such denials are not expected to silence the deepening controversy, especially with a  general election expected this June.

    Analysts say the  predominantly Kurdish southeast is a key area for the ruling AK party in the June election. But with a rejuvenated Kurdish nationalist opposition, they may have a uphill battle.

    Cakir says the release of the Hizbullah leadership is a major moral boost to the organization. And,  if Hizbullah decides to enter the elections in the key predominantly Kurdish southeast, its powerful grass roots movement could be key to determining the Turkish prime minister's votes there.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora