On 17 April it was reported that Turkish police had carried out raids in places from Izmir in the west to Batman in the south-east and the capital Ankara. Some 43 people were reportedly arrested for alleged links with the PKK.
This was the second wave of arrests in the space of a week. Earlier more than 70 people were arrested, including senior members of the DTP. The names published by the DTP lists a total of 90 arrested DTP members (available from PIK). Firat news agency reported that 245 people had been arrested over a four-day period.
Such actions are an affront to democracy and can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to crush the hopes of all the Kurds who only a few days earlier had courageously braved the harassment and intimidation from police and military to cast their votes in overwhelming numbers for the DTP.
The strong support for the party had confounded all the pollsters and pundits who had been predicted that the ruling AKP would sweep the board in the main Kurdish cities.
During the local elections held on 29 March, the party almost doubled its number of municipalities (from 56 to 98). In ten provinces of the East and South-East, the DTP obtained the highest popular support, clearly demonstrating that it is now a formidable political force.
The DTP sees the arrests as an attempt by the AKP government to weaken it following its impressive gains which had shaken the AKP and humiliated Prime Minister Erdogan who had wanted to "take Diyarbakir".
The response of the Turkish state amounts to a repudiation of the democratic process and a crude attempt to silence the voices of the Kurdish people who had spoken so resoundingly. It seems that of the Kurds go for the peaceful electoral option they are rejected and repressed. This is a backward step and represents a grave miscalculation by the shaken authorities in Ankara.
It is the duty of all those who truly want to see peace and stability prevail in the country to support the responsible calls for a just democratic solution to the Kurdish question. The DTP has a key role to play and cannot be allowed to be simply repressed. The hopes of the Kurds cannot be crushed so easily.
We support the call by The European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group in the European Parliament for the immediate release of all those who have been arrested.
For information contact: Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
[email protected] tel 020 7586 5892