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.

 

Blair calls on West to combat ‘growing’ danger of Islamist extremism

No Qatar ‘concessions’ on end of dispute with fellow Gulf states

Bahrain expels representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani

Netayahu to Abbas: Does you want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel?

Dubai's Emaar posts huge Q1 profit

Witnesses in Morsi trial: Hamas and Hezbollah attacked Egypt prisons

Family of detained Al-Jazeera reporter in Egypt call for his release

Bomb targets convoy of Education Minister in north Iraq

After Ervin scandal, Iran Prisons Chief becomes Head of Justice Department

Egypt FM travels to US as Washington relaxes hold on military aid

US diplomat visits Libya amid political upheaval

Jarba asks Saudi Arabia to increase support for Syria rebels

Better late than never: Erdogan offers condolences over mass WWI killings of Armenians

Hezbollah veto dashes Geagea dreams of presidency

UN aid chiefs make impassionate call for Syria access

Police brigadier general killed in Cairo bomb attack

11 new MERS infections registered in Saudi

EU denounces Syria plans for June 3 election

Iran envoy row fails to make headway at UN

Amnesty: Qatar fails to protect domestic workers

US will deliver 10 Apache choppers to Egypt to counter terrorism

US expresses horror at South Sudan violence

Egypt's next president will have to deal with frustrated workers

Rival Palestinian leaders agree on national unity govt

Jumblatt backs lawmaker Henri Helou for Lebanon presidency

Global chemical watchdog: Syria weapons handover at 86.5 percent

Kerry ‘prefers’ Cold War-like situation to current complex challenges

Israel to call up Christian Arabs for military service

Egypt prosecutors submit new evidence in Jazeera trial

Families of Iran prisoners break silence over abuses at notorious Evin

Lebanon sends rare aid to its territory in Syria

Iran divorce rate increases amid slow population growth

Suspected militant attacks kill four Yemen officers in two days

Distrust casts shadow over South Kordofan peace talks

Ali Tarhuni heads Libya constituent assembly

Washington revisits story of Syria chemical weapons

PM Erdogan to tour Europe for expat presidency votes

Erdogan to May Day protesters: Give up on your hopes of Taksim!

Palestine plays down threat to dismantle PA

South Sudan army battle rebels as insurgents target oil fields

Two Somali MPs shot dead in 24 hours

MERS death toll keeps climbing in Saudi

Court deals blow to US administration on drone attacks

Berber protesters clash anew with Algeria police

US has 'indications' of new chemical attacks in Syria