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

Photogallery Pope Condemns IS 'Persecution' of Minorities

Pope delivers annual 'Urbi et Orbi' (to the city and the world) blessing, appeals for end to conflicts in Africa, dialogue in Middle East, condemns Taliban attack in Pakistan More

China Reduces Number of Crimes Punishable by Death

Earlier this year China announced plans to remove nine crimes from the list of capital offenses, including counterfeiting, fraudulent fund-raising and forcing others into prostitution More

Analysis: For N. Koreans, Parody Has Grave Tone

Most North Koreans who might see 'The Interview' would be horribly offended, outraged, and confused More

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.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid