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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora