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Party ban

December 13, 2009

Following a Friday ruling from a Turkish court banning a Kurdish political party, lawmakers from the party are boycotting parliament as clashes erupt in the country.

Ahmet Turk
DTP co-chair Turk announced his banned party would boycott parliamentImage: AP

Friday's decision by the Turkish constitutional court to ban a Kurdish party linked with separatist guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has sparked a boycott.

The banned Democratic Society Party (DTP) held a meeting on Saturday to determine its next move and members ended up carrying out an initial plan to boycott parliament if their party were banned.

"Our (parliamentary) group has effectively pulled out from parliament as of today. It will not participate in any work there," said Ahmet Turk, the party's co-chair.

The DTP has 19 remaining members of parliament left after Turk and another deputy were stripped of their seats as a result of the ban.

The political unrest in the country threatens to set back the efforts by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to improve relations with the Kurdish minority in the country. The European Union and the United States have expressed concern over the DTP's ban.

The EU warned that it would violate Kurdish rights. The US State Department said Turkey should advance political freedom for all its citizens and that restricting those rights "should be exercised with extreme caution."

Meanwhile, violent protests continued in Turkey on Saturday in the country's mostly Kurdish southeast region. Police used tear gas and water cannons against protestors who had lit street barricades on fire and threw stones at security forces.

In banning the DTP on Friday, Turkey's Constitutional Court said the party had been found guilty of cooperating with PKK separatist forces. The PKK has lead an insurgency in Turkey's southeast for a quarter of a century and is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community.


Editor: Kyle James