· Run up to elections (February-June) filled with violent clashes between pro-Kurdish
protestors (mostly children and young people) and security forces in Kurdish cities. Increase
in military operations against PKK, also cross-border with Iraq. Large numbers of political
· The BDP ran a civil disobedience campaign but several ‘Peace tents’ were raided by the
police and police attacked Kurds while performing Friday prayers in Kurdish.
· BDP put independent candidates forward in ‘Labour, Freedom and Democracy Block’ to
avoid 10% electoral treshold. Alliances were made with smaller more religious Kurdish
parties and the Turkish socialist movement.
· High Election Board put a ban on 6 of the independent Kurdish candidates because of
previous criminal convictions. This again sparked very heavy and violent protests (two
children lost their life; 831 people 198 of whom were children taken under custody; 174
people 34 of whom were children detained. 308 people wounded and 9 of them were police
officers. ) After these protests the Board reinstated five candidates.
· Erdogan’s election discourse turned very nationalistic; he stated that the Kurdish Question
was solved and referred to CHP-leader Kilicdaroglu’s Alevi faith to imply that he was not a
‘real Muslim’… After his election victory Erdogan apologized but it seems that his
Democratic Opening is closed.
· Main opposition party CHP (social – democrats) made several promises to Kurds in their
election rallies. New leader Kiliçcdaroglu promised more autonomy for municipalities,
investigation into unsolved murders in the region and condemmed KCK-trial. This appears
like a big shift for CHP, which has a very Kemalist background.
· AKP took half of the Turkish votes, CHP landed at 26%. MHP, the nationalist party, was the
third party to reach the treshold with 13%. This means AKP can not change the Turkish
Constitution without consulting other groups in the Parliament.
· ‘Labour, Freedom and Democracy Block’ won 6% of the votes, which means 36 candidates
can go to the Parliament. This is a big victory for the BDP, which comes from 21 seats,
especially considering the hard circumstances of their campaign (no campaign fundings,
large illiterate constituency, state intimidation, …). Without the electoral treshold, the Block
would have gotten more than 50 seats in the Parliament.
· Most of the physical part of the still ongoing conflict (mainly clashes with army and police
but also armed struggle within PKK) is carried out by children and young people. Research
shows that the war memories of their parents are used to justify their violent resistance,
which is also a reaction to unbearable life conditions (extreme poverty, state and police
violence, no hope for future, school is seen as hostile and unproductive environment because
of ban on mothertongue education).
· Because of large scale forced migration power structures within families have changed; a lot
of children have become economical actors and know Turkish better than their parents.
Children have the same responsabilities as their parents and are treated as adults by police
and state but are not taken seriously as political actors, also not by Kurdish movement.
Violence is the only way for them to participate and voice their demands.
· Rather than being ‘used’ by the Kurdish movement, these young protestors are the most
extreme and engaged part of the movement. Allthough the Turkish public opinion depict
them as innocent victims of the PKK it are the children who are punished by installing a
child-unfriendly Anti Terror Law. Observes and researchers predict big problems to come.
EU and the Kurds
The EU pressure on Turkey regarding the Kurdish Question is decreasing, allthough the influence
of the EU has brought important changes in the past. Allthough Kurds are disspointed with the EU a
lot of them still think outside pressure is essential to bringing changes.
Allthough the EU and Council of Europe support most of the demands of the Kurdish movement
they prioritise ‘the fight against terrorism’ (see European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on
Turkey’s 2010 progress report) , which is an unproductive and hypocrit strategy considering the
massive state violence in the Kurdish regions.
Allthough accession perspectives are becoming uncertain the EU is giving 800 million euro to
Turkey for Pre-Accession Assistance. This money is largely managed by the Turkish goverment.
There is little transparency. Also, the EU does not apply any form of positive discrimination
towards the heavily underdeveloped Kurdish regions.
The Kurdish regions are heavily underdeveloped compared to the West of Turkey. The
developmentinitiatves implemented by the government are not producing the expected results
becuase of centralised planning and no participation from local population, NGO’s or
municipalities. Social projects are assimilative. The political reality of the region (village guard
system, landmines, migration to cities, …) is not taken into account. The head of the Diyarbakir
Development Agency declared that there was never an armed conflict in east Turkey and that
migration was just a natural phenomenon.
Local municipalities
After the local elections in 2009, the BDP won 99 municipalities in the Kurdish regions. Because of
centralistic government, they hold very little power and dispose of little financial resources. Most of
the local power and resources are in the hands of the provincial governors, who are appointed by the
central governemnt and not elected by the people. This is a big democratic deficit. Constant state
harassment is weakening the party and its municipalities. Human resources are very poor.