Two Shot Dead in Ongoing Kurdish Protests

0,,5009212_4,00ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–Two people were shot dead and several were wounded Tuesday in southeastern Turkey when a shopkeeper fired on demonstrators protesting a court ban on the country’s main Kurdish party, a local official said.

The gunman, armed with an assault rifle, opened fire on the crowd holding a protest march in the town of Bulanik, in the mainly Kurdish province of Mush, denouncing the banning of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) the town’s mayor, Ziya Akkaya, told the NTV news channel.

The police detained the assailant, Anatolia news agency reported.

Akkaya initially said “seven or eight people” were wounded in the incident but brought the number drown to six in a later broadcast.

The shooting came after the protesters stoned shops and banks along the route of the march and harassed shopkeepers who had not closed their stores in protest of the ban on the DTP, media reports said.

Anatolia said the windows of the gunman’s shop were broken and his vehicle torched by the protesters.

Television footage showed a crowd of several hundred people marching through the town and some pelting an armored police vehicle with stones.

There have been daily protests in the Kurdish-populated Southeast and East of Turkey, as well as major western towns with large numbers of Kurdish migrants, since Friday when the Constitutional Court banned the party.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for an urgent meeting of the Turkish National Security Council (MGK ) on Wednesday to discuss the latest developments.

Kurdish Deputies Resign

The 19 deputies of the now-defunct DTP decided during an emergency strategy assembly on Monday to resign from the Turkish Parliament, the party’s leader Ahmet Turk said after the party convened in Diyarbakır.

Their pending resignations spark yet more political uncertainty in the country, as the resignations must be approved by the Parliament’s general assembly before deputies are allowed to step down.

According to the Turkish Constitution, if the number of empty seats in Parliament exceeds 5 percent of the total number of deputies, then a by-election is needed. Because all 19 deputies from the party resigned, there is the possibility of a by-election – if Parliament accepts the resignations.

Support for BDP

In an interesting development, DTP signs in the southeastern province of Sirnak’s Silopi district, were lowered late Monday and replaced with those of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

The BDP was established by founding Chairman Mustafa Ayzit in May 2009. Among the 42 founding members were Cabar Leygara, mayor of Diyarbakır’s Baglar district from the banned People’s Democracy Party’s (HADEP) and Cezayir Serin, former mayor of Diyarbakır’s Sur district.

Hatip Dicle, deputy of the disbanded DTP said, “We will continue to be part of democratic politics with our deputy friends under the roof of Democratic Society Congress and also work for strengthening the BDP.”

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