The decision of Turkey’s Supreme Election Commission (YSK) to veto 12 independent candidates backed by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), including, above all, Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Sebahat Tuncel, Ertugrul Kurkcu, Gulten Kisanak, Isa Gurbuz and Salih Yildiz has been met with outrage from all quarters and resulted in severe unrest and an escalation of protests and violence in major cities.

With the unrest still continuing throughout major cities such as Istanbul, Mersin, Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Van, Hakkari, Antep and Izmir it is deeply concerning that at least 1 person has been killed by Turkish officials in the town of Bismil/Diyarbakir with evidence of his corps being kicked around after being shot. At least 5 people have been injured by gun fire, at least 50 people have been injured otherwise and at least 240 people have been arrested and taken into custody.

We find it regrettable that the genuine efforts advanced by the BDP for a peaceful political resolution to the Kurdish question have been dealt with yet another blow, which appears to have been a premeditated and calculated attack on the parties’ ability to fight the forthcoming election on the 12th of June 2011.

Whilst the decision has been condemned as a major blow to democracy and democratic efforts by, inter alia, the Council of Europe, the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), the Equality and Democracy Party (EDP), the Peace Parliament and the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) and a wealth of other MP’s and civil society organizations, the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and BDP have called for a urgent recess of parliament proposing an abandonment of the forthcoming ele! ctions and an overhaul of constitutional deficiencies such as the existing electoral threshold to be aligned to a democratically acceptable level.

It is clear that the decision only benefits the ruling AKP government and has all the hallmarks of a well thought-out premeditated plan to minimize the role of the BDP with the ultimate aim of gaining control over the southeastern Kurd! ish region. This is a sad day for democracy and only serves to weaken the BDP and therefore a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question.

The ill thought out decision should be withdrawn with immediate effect. A chance should be given to peace through democracy.

Britain Peace Council
Press Release, 20th April 2011
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