Ten Deputies Leave Republic Faction

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Ten deputies turned in their resignations from the ran’s of the Republic bloc–currently dominating the National Assembly.

Among them are Ishkhan Zakarian–Vahan Zatikian–Simon Martirossian–Albert Khachatrian–Mikael Vardanian–Albert Bazeyan and Razmik Martirossian.

Currently only 96 deputies remain in the Republic faction–while after the parliamentary election in 1995 the faction had 150 deputies.WASHINGTON (Reuters)–Four Kurds and two Americans began an open-ended fast outside the US Congress on Monday to publicize the plight of the Kurds and of imprisoned Kurd parliamentarian Leyla Zana.

The fasters said they would drink only electrolyte–water with minerals to maintain the balance in their bodies–for as long as they could keep going.

Kani Xulam–director of the Washington-based American Kurdish Information Network and one of the fasters–said they were not making specific deman’s because they did not seek confrontation with the Turkish government.

But in the unlikely event that the Turks do agree to release Zana–they will call the fast off–he added.

The fast is timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the day Zana was elected to parliament. Zana–36–was jailed for 15 years for treason in 1994 partly because of testimony she gave to the Helsinki Commission of Congress.

The two fasting Americans are Kathryn Cameron Porter–president of the Human Rights Alliance and wife of Rep. John Porter–an Illinois Republican–and Linnaea Melcarek–23–who works with Xulam’s group. The other Kurds were Ferda Beyrikan–Dara Rizgari and New York City grocer Amed Kozlu.

In 1995–144 members of the US House of Representatives wrote to President Bill Clinton asking him to raise the case of Zana with the Turkish authorities.

But Turkey is also a NATO ally of the United States–which sees Ankara as a valuable counterweight to Iraq and Iran.

In speeches launching the fast–activists including Bianca Jagger and Rep. Bob Filner–a California Democrat–urged Clinton to try again.

"I am participating because of my frustration with my own government. I have tried everything possible to turn our policy around–to see that the United States stands for what it supposedly stands for," said Kathryn Cameron Porter.

"This country (has) put its trust in the generals of the Turkish military rather than in Kurdish representatives who long for democratic ideals," added Xulam.

The fasters will spend about 10 hours a day outside Congress and spend the nights at a downtown church. They will also march to the White House and back once a day.

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