First Published: 2011-04-21

 

Turkey OKs Kurdish candidates after review

 

Turkey approves election bids of several prominent Kurds after their initial disqualification sparked violent protests.

 

Middle East Online

By Sibel Utku Bila - ANKARA

'Now there should be no problem'

Turkey on Thursday approved the election bids of several prominent Kurds after their initial disqualification sparked violent Kurdish protests that flared for a third day across the southeast.

The Higher Electoral Board (YSK) said it reversed its ruling for six of the seven barred candidates "after a review of fresh court documents presented within the appeal period."

Among those who won a green light to stand in the June 12 parliamentary polls was iconic Kurdish activist Leyla Zana, winner of the European Parliament's human rights award who spent 10 years behind bars before being released in 2004, according to the statement.

They included also two Kurdish members of the outgoing parliament, a prominent politician currently in jail and a well-know leftist intellectual.

Citing past convictions and legal technicalities, the YSK had declared the seven bidders ineligible Monday, setting the scene for street clashes between Kurdish protestors and the police.

The unrest threatened to mar electioneering ahead of the polls and deepen ethnic conflict in EU-hopeful Turkey, which has claimed some 45,000 lives since the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) took up arms in 1984.

The electoral board convened in Ankara to review the appeals as thousands of people took to the streets in the Kurdish-majority southeast for the funeral of a slain protestor and waged pitch battles with the security forces.

A policeman and a school employee were injured in a melee in Batman city when an unidentified person opened fire as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators hurling petrol bombs and stones, Anatolia news agency reported.

The policeman was hit by three bullets, it said.

In nearby Bismil, an estimated 30,000 people marched at the funeral of a protestor killed in clashes the previous day, chanting slogans in favour of the PKK, an AFP reporter said.

The mourners carried the coffin, wrapped in PKK flags, on their shoulders as masked youths shouting "Revenge, revenge!" escorted the procession.

The crowd was led by prominent Kurdish politicians, including one of the six candidates whom the YSK reinstated.

Unrest broke out as militant youths hurled Molotov cocktails and stones at the security forces, who responded with pepper gas and pressurised water.

There were similar scenes of violence in other towns across the southeast as President Abdullah Gul appealed for peace.

"Nothing can be resolved through violence," Anatolia quoted Gul as saying.

"It turned out the documents were incomplete. Since they have been completed now, there should be no problem," he said, in anticipation of the YSK review.

The disqualifications deepened frustration among the Kurds at a time when their parties already face legal hurdles and many activists remain in jail despite a series of reforms broadening Kurdish rights.

The candidates are backed by Turkey's main Kurdish party, the Peace and Democracy Party, which fielded them as independents to go round a 10-percent electoral threshold that parties are required to pass to enter parliament.

An autopsy report said the 21-year-old protestor in Bismil was killed by a bullet that pierced his left arm and chest.

There was no official word on who fired the fatal shot, but witnesses said police used first plastic bullets and then live rounds against the demonstrators.

Officials said police had responded to an "intensive" hail of petrol bombs, firecrackers and stones, and announced a judicial probe into the killing.

Enraged youths torched the Bismil office of the ruling Justice and Development Party Wednesday night, while a bus driver in Diyarbakir was critically injured when his vehicle caught fire from a petrol bomb.

Meanwhile, three PKK militants were killed and another arrested in fighting with the army in Kahramanmaras province, Anatolia reported Thursday.

 

Turkey concedes including Assad in Syria talks

Trump to be sworn in as 45th US president

IS demolishes two more monuments in Palmyra

Iran losing hope of saving trapped firefighters

More than 40 jihadists killed in north Syria air strikes

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Trump in tweet

Israel denounces Belgian plan to interrogate ex-minister

Denmark grants soldiers permission to fight IS in Syria

Car bomb near Benghazi mosque wounds 12

UN calls IS destruction of Palmyra relics ‘war crime’

Armed settlers rescued from angry Palestinian villagers

Petition filed for Israeli court to return body of Bedouin

29 Yemen rebels killed by Saudi-led air strikes

Algeria’s Islamist parties unite ahead of April elections

British worker dies on Qatar 2022 World Cup site

Search continues for trapped Iran firefighters

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul