Police in Diyarbakir, Turkey, used water cannons, tear gas and batons against Kurdish protesters Nov. 25. The protesters hurled stones and burned tires after being blocked from marching through the city’s center. Protesters chanted slogans in support of the Democratic Society Party, which prosecutors want closed down, and in favor of Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK guerillas. Police detained dozens during the clashes.
Earlier, up to 40,000 attended a Democratic Socialist Party rally in Diyarbakir, condemning the Turkish government’s threat to send troops into northern Iraq to rout PKK bases there. “At this rally, we say enough is enough,” said Selahattin Demirtas, a member of Parliament with the party. “Enough of denying the Kurds. Enough of trying to solve problems through [military] operations.”
Turkey’s Constitutional Court agreed Nov. 23 to hear a call from prosecutors to shut down the Democratic Socialist Party because of its calls for Kurdish autonomy and suspected links to the PKK. The party, which has 20 members of Parliament, disavows violence. Some of its MPs are said to be under investigation for comments they have made, although they ostensibly have immunity from prosecution. (Reuters, Nov. 25)
Um, didn’t the New York Times just report Nov. 2 “As Kurds’ Status Improves, Support for Militants Erodes in Turkey”?
See our last post on the struggle in Kurdistan.