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.

 

UN eyes new Western Sahara talks after Polisario pullback

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Merkel warns EU-Turkey ties 'severely hit' by Ankara developments

Pope Francis leads mass in Egypt

420 tonnes of plastic bags seized in year in Morocco since ban

Pope lifts spirits of Egypt's persecuted Christians

Erdogan says Turkey, US can turn Raqa into 'graveyard'

Hamas to amend controversial charter

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers

US wants 'strong, democratic' Turkey: ambassador

Israeli tank trades shots with Hamas in Gaza

Syria says France 'hiding truth' about chemical attack

NATO chief warns Turkey to respect ‘rule of law’

Exiled Turkish journalist urges EU to confront Erdogan

Mass funeral for dozens slain in Syria bus attack

Qatar insists Baghdad had ‘full knowledge’ of hostage deal

UN eyes new Yemen peace talks

Erdogan resumes Gulen arrests after referendum win