ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News)–The threatened closure of the country’s main pro-Kurdish party could prompt renewed violence, a party deputy warned Wednesday following the initiation of an investigation into the group.
“If the government does not take our views seriously, if we are shut up, then some could say ‘weapons should do the talking’ as was done a few months ago,” Bengi Yildiz, a deputy from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.
The chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals launched an investigation into the BDP following the presentation last weekend of a model of “democratic autonomy” by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella organization of Kurdish groups.
While the top court examines whether the BDP and the DTK are linked, a separate investigation seeks to determine if the autonomy demand could be classified as a crime under the country’s anti-terror laws. If the answer found in both investigations is yes, a closure case could be opened against the BDP.
Criticizing the investigation, Yildiz asked if the chief prosecutor had “taken any lesson” from the recent European Court of Human Rights decision that the ban on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) violated the freedoms of assembly and association. “Haven’t they seen that this could not shut us down? How many parties will they have to ban to understand this?” he said. “We say the weapons are silent now and civilians, parliamentarians should talk. If our party is closed, who will talk and make politics?”
Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya has requested documents related to the DTK’s weekend meeting from both the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor’s Office and the city’s governor, according to a statement it issued late Tuesday. Referring to the discussions on “democratic autonomy” at that event, the statement said: “An investigation on possible organic links between the DTK and any political parties has been launched in accordance with articles 78, 80, 81, 82 and 98 of the Law on Political Parties.”
Yildiz said such links did not exist. “We, as the BDP, are not included in the DTK as a political party, but [some of us] are members of the DTK as individual volunteers, as other Kurdish intellectuals are,” he said. “The DTK gathers from time to time, has discussions and makes them public. Democratic autonomy was presented in this framework and no decision has been made on that.”
The deputy further argued that since that DTK is not a legal entity, the prosecutor could not detect any organic bond between it and the BDP. “Besides, BDP [members] participated in the DTK only as individuals. Therefore, it is not possible to detect an organic bond between them,” he said.
“The investigation will not affect us discussing these issues. Moreover, it will encourage us more and more to express our views. However, the intellectuals participating in the DTK meetings will be affected negatively,” Yildiz told the Daily News.
The DTK, which is an umbrella organization for many pro-Kurdish politicians, intellectuals and representatives of civil-society organizations, opened a discussion Sunday at a meeting in Diyarbakır on a draft text that outlined the first comprehensive model of democratic autonomy.
According to the draft, the proposed autonomous model would organize itself in “political, economic, cultural, social, diplomatic, legal, ecological and self-defense” branches. It also called for the adoption of the Kurdish flag, the institution of Kurdish-language education from kindergarten through university and the creation of local parliaments for Kurds.