The banning followed the closure of the Democratic Society’s Party (DTP). The decision imposed on 37 leading DTP members, among them the party’s prominent chairman Ahmet Türk and the legislator Aysel Tugluk, along with 34 other party members. The decision was ruled by the Constitutional Court Friday 11th December. According to Ahmet Turk the remaining group (19 of 21) has withdrawn and will not attend any assembly session.

Leyla Zana was the first Kurdish woman to win a seat in the Turkish Parliament in 1991. Her decision to give the Parliamentary Oath in Kurdish led to immediate calls for her arrest. This was the first time Kurdish had been spoken in the Turkish Parliament. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison but was released in 2004 due to international pressure.  Since her release Leyla Zana has been under constant pressure and surveillance by the authorities. The constitutional ban is no big surprise in that regards.

How can a state aiming for EU membership ban democratically elected politicians along with human rights activists and spokes persons for peace and democracy – like Leyla Zana? 

The banning of Leyla Zana, and the DTP members, is a serious breach in the political peace rhetoric developed by the AKP government lately, which created a sense of hope among the countries Kurdish citizens. The fact that the Kurdish peace initiative, along with Mr. Abdullah Öcalan’s Road Map for Peace, are not taken seriously, opens for a dangerous political climate in Turkey, and paves the way for more violence. It further confirms that Turkey’s peace initiative is not reliable.

Turkey has to take responsibility for the unstable political situation and political turmoil that has evolved in the wake of the Friday event.

EUTCC urges Turkey and the Constitutional Court to alter its decision of banning Leyla Zana and the DTP members. EUTCC calls on the European Union and the international community to take political action towards Turkey.

Kariane Westrheim – Hans Branscheidt –  Professor Michael Gunter

Chair of EUTCC (www.eutcc.org)

For further information -Kariane Westrheim – Menneskerettighetenes plass 1 – 5007 Bergen, Norway – Telephone: +47 976 42 088

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