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Self-rule claims in eastern Turkey legitimate, HDP co-chair asserts

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Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, speaking to Fırat News Agency, said the self-rule claims by some mayors in eastern Turkey is the declaration of a political will and the HDP respects it.

“There is nothing more legitimate than the nation’s self-rule. It is also part of our party’s program: If we come to power, or proceed a negotiation with a ruling party, we suggest autonomy as a political model officially,” Demirtaş said. Mayors of some provinces in eastern Turkey have recently declared “self-rule” in violation of the constitutional order. The mayors of two districts in southeastern Diyarbakır province, Sur Co-Mayor Seyid Narin and Silvan Co-Mayor Yüksel Bodakçı, were arrested for the autonomy declarations they made.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, speaking to Fırat News Agency, said the self-rule claims by some mayors in eastern Turkey is the declaration of a political will and the HDP respects it. “There is nothing more legitimate than the nation’s self-rule. It is also part of our party’s program: If we come to power, or proceed a negotiation with a ruling party, we suggest autonomy as a political model officially,” Demirtaş said. Mayors of some provinces in eastern Turkey have recently occupied the political agenda with their alleged declarations of “self-rule” disrupting the constitutional order. The mayors of two districts in southeastern Diyarbakır province, Sur Co-Mayor Seyid Narin and Silvan Co-Mayor Yüksel Bodakçı, have been taken into custody over alleged claims of autonomy. The co-mayor of the Edremit district of southeastern Van province, Sevil Rojbin Çetin, was taken into custody on charges of declaring autonomy in the early hours of Aug. 14 along with S.S. who was charged for disclosing the autonomy claim to the press, after the Van Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation over the self-rule claim. Two co-mayors of the province of Hakkari, Dilek Hatipoğlu and Nurullah Çiftçi, were also arrested due to the same claims of self-rule.

Demirtaş added that to call the nation’s demand of autonomy illegal is against the HDP’s program. He said: “Our difference is that no guns should be used. The HDP’s peace resolution is on this democratic political approach. So, the autonomy announced by the public [in eastern Turkey] should be respected.”

While self-rule declarations have followed one another, illegal materials used for bomb-making have reportedly been found in a truck belonging to Van Municipality, which is ruled by the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) at a time when the HDP is scrutinized for hesitating to keep a distance from the PKK terrorist group and its deputies openly express support for it and provide assistance to the outlawed organization. According to a report released by Van Police Department covering the period from Aug. 9-18, 20 cell batteries, 100 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and other chemicals used for bomb-making were found in a truck belonging to Van Municipality. Turkey has been hit by violence since a suicide bomb attack by a suspected Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) supporter killed 32 activists in Suruç on July 20. The government has intensified its counterterrorism operations following the recent PKK attacks. The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and Turkey.

Formed in 1978, the terrorist group has been fighting the Turkish state for an independent Kurdistan until the early 2000s. The group then shifted its goal to autonomy in predominately Kurdish regions of Turkey.

The PKK on July 11 announced the end of the cease-fire that was declared in a message from the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan in 2013. Turkish security forces have arrested hundreds of people with suspected links to ISIS, the PKK and leftist groups, detaining over 1,300 people across the country.

Resource: Daily Sabah, August 26, 2015

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