Tuesday, September 16, 2008


"Don't try our patience, don't make us head to the mountains."
~ Pro-DTP protestors in Istanbul.

Ahmet Türk submitted DTP's oral defense against closure today, from Bianet:

Commenting about the defense after its presentation, Türk said, “The decision should be made by taking into consideration the European Human Rights Court (EHRC) and the Venice Convention.”

“In our defense, we told them that there cannot be weapons and violence in a democratic environment, that the weapons cannot be a solution to the pains endured. The DTP is a kind of party that demands democracy and wants people to live together with love. We conveyed these thoughts to the council. We hope that the decision will reflect these thoughts and that it will be positive.”

[ . . . ]

When you close the door to the democratic politics then the people who believe in this will lose all their hope. We are trying to embrace 72 million politically. If a party with 2 million votes is closed then the hopes of those people who believe in it will be shattered.”

About the question if the DTP was established with the order of Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), and if they had an organic connection with this party, his answer was: “The DTP is a platform where every correct thought is evaluated. We have no organic connection with the PKK. But, there is a 25 year old reality and we want this to end. We will take into evaluation every correct method.

Others are gathering signatures to keep DTP open:

Tanbay, the spokesperson of the Initiative, described the risk as “Closing the DTP means destroying the bridge of peace between the peoples.”

She said, “The Kurdish people have formed many parties. Every party that was formed by the Kurds was eventually closed by the Constitutional Court and their deputies were given various sentences. This is injustice. This is destroying the hopes for a peaceful and democratic solution.

Tanbay emphasizes that this is not only a problem of the Kurds, but everyone’s and adds that Turkey should stop being a graveyard for political parties; the pressures on democracy, the right to organize, to demonstrate and to think should end.

Ahmet Türk and the DTP remain optimistic as to the outcome:

The DTP regards the non-closure decisions given by the Constitutional Court in the closure cases against the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR) and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as favorable developments for its case.

I do not share the optimism. For one thing, there's a world of difference between DTP and either AKP or HAK-PAR. For another, since the Amed Serhildan in March 2006, the Ankara regime has not only refused to engage in dialog with DTP but DTP politicians have been under severe persecution from the regime. DTP mayors were convicted for their letter to Danish PM Rasmussen in defense of Roj TV. DTP Diyarbakır mayor Osman Baydemir was convicted for his remarks during the Amed Serhildan. Abdullah Demirbaş came under fire for providing multi-lingual municipal services to his constituents. These are only a few examples of the pressures the fascist regime has brought against Kurdish politicians in Turkey.

Add to all of that the fact that every true Kurdish party in Turkey has been shut down.

Pro-terrorism think-tank Jamestown Foundation doesn't share DTP's optimism either:

Despite the likelihood of the DTP case ending in closure, party officials remain defiant.

“The error lies not with what we do or say but in a system that doesn’t accept but excludes what we do or say,” said DTP Co-Chair Emine Ayna.

They get something else right, too:

Yet the policy of suppression traditionally adopted by the Turkish state toward any expression of Kurdish nationalism, whether it is peaceful or violent, arguably plays into the PKK’s hands, enabling it to claim that the only way for Turkey’s Kurds to try to win greater cultural and political rights is through the use of arms. The concern now is that if, as expected, the DTP is eventually closed down, not only will it be replaced by another pro-Kurdish party with a similar agenda but that Kurdish nationalism will become irretrievably associated with violence both in the eyes of the Turkish state and those of Kurdish nationalists.

In the eyes of the Ankara regime, everything Kurdish is terrorist and it has always been this way. But with every political avenue for the Kurdish people blocked, there is no other way but the way of the mountains.

Amazingly enough, a CHP parliamentarian has argued against DTP's closure:

[Adıyaman CHP parliamentarian Şevket] Köse told bianet that “Basically both parties were charged with the same crime; they were accused of having become the center of activities to annihilate the secular and democratic republic. If the AKP was not closed after it was found guilty then the DTP should not either. There will be discord, if it is closed.”

Although the Constitutional Court had found the AKP guilty of the crime mentioned above, there were not enough votes to close it; its punishment did not go beyond losing its treasury aid.

[ . . . ]

Köse believes that closing of the DTP will not be good for the politics. He wonders if the court will show the same sensitivity it showed to the AKP.

“The law should not be on the side of the strong, the one with the more votes. It should defend those with the one percent of the votes as well. Is not democracy about defending the rights of the minorities, too?”

“It does not matter whether or not I agree with the thoughts of those 21 fellow deputies. They are the representatives of the Kurdish citizens in the Parliament. I will not be pleased to see the DTP closed.” Köse believes even if it is closed, there will be another party to take its place.

Meanwhile, the paşas are asking to extend the parliamentary approval for cross border operations, due to expire in October. I wonder which way Köse will vote?

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