News

    Turkish Police Arrest 31 Suspected Kurdish Separatists

    Turkish Police Arrest 31 Suspected Kurdish Separatists
    Turkish Police Arrest 31 Suspected Kurdish Separatists

    Media reports say Turkish police have raided the homes of suspected Kurdish separatists around the country, arresting 31 people, including eight mayors.
    The reports say police arrested the suspects early Thursday in simultaneous raids in 11 Turkish provinces. The arrests cast doubt on government's efforts to end fighting with the PKK.

    Across Turkey's predominately Kurdish southeast, security forces carried out dawn raids on members of the recently banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP.

    Several local mayors were among those detained. The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation by state prosecutors into suspected links between DTP party members and the Kurdish rebel group the Kurdistan Workers Party , the PKK.

    Osman Baydemir, a leading DTP member and mayor of Diyarbakir, the main city in southeast Turkey, condemned the arrests.

    He says, we have a message to give to this government and state: don't categorize us as hawks and doves. We, all the mayors and members of parliament who have not been taken to custody will be outside the court tomorrow. Either you take us in, too, or you release our friends. He added that a day will come when the government will find no one to shake hands with."

    Earlier this month the DTP was banned by the constitutional court for having links to PKK rebels.

    The ban on the DTP sparked protests across southeast Turkey.

    Political columnist Nuray Mert warns the arrests will add to growing ethnic tensions in Turkey.

    "Arrests apparently did not mean to be provocation but at the end of the day it provokes the party," said Mert. "Another wave of harsh discourse will come out, and it will turn out to be a vicious cycle of provocations of each other."

    Hopes had been growing that the violence would ease following the announcement by Ahmet Turk, the leader of the banned DTP, that they would join the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), in order to keep their parliamentary seats.

    But those hopes were dashed this week when a state prosecutor opened an inquiry against Turk over comments that jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan had sent word through his lawyers advising the party's legislators to remain in parliament despite the court ban.

    More than 50 Kurdish activists are still being held after similar raids eight months ago - and all have been charged with membership in the PKK.

    Kurds, who are estimated to make up about 20 percent of Turkey's population of more than 70 million people, were for decades forbidden to use their language and many have long complained of discrimination. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip  Erdogan had initiated a program to improve Kurdish rights, but with the DTP the only Kurdish party represented in parliament now banned, Mr. Erdogan has no party to negotiate with for a peace plan.

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.