Thousands of Kurds Protest in Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Hurriyet)–Kurdish people will continue to speak their language in the courts, at schools and within the taxation institution, the head of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said Thursday during a protest in Diyarbakir.

“Either [the Kurdish] people will be recognized … so that we may all live together in this country, or the mentality that has denied Kurdish people [their rights] for 80 years will be revealed one more time,” Selahattin Demirtaş said to the crowd.

Demirtas spoke at a march protesting the ongoing trial of alleged members of the suspected urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The trial of dozens of Kurdish citizens, politicians, and elected officials,  allegedly belonging to the Kurdistan Communities Union, or KCK, started last month in Diyarbakir. A number of widely reported arguments have occurred at the hearings following the defendants’ insistence on being allowed to speak their native Kurdish during proceedings – demands the court has repeatedly rejected.

Following a higher court’s dismissal of the demand, defense lawyer İbrahim Tali Uysal called on the defendants to halt their demands. The issue has turned into a stubborn face-off between the defendants and the court, he said.

“You have your wives, husbands and children at home,” he told the defendants.


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