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Turkey's Constitutional Court closes DTP

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 12/11/2009 12:00:00 AM |

Turkey’s Constitutional Court late Friday delivered a landmark ruling, banning the pro-Kurdish party for links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. (UPDATED)

Turkey’s Constitutional Court late Friday delivered a landmark ruling, banning the pro-Kurdish party for links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

The decision to close down the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, was made unanimously after deliberations that began Tuesday, said the court president, Haşim Kılıç, speaking to the press as he announced the final verdict.

“It has been decided the DTP will be closed under Articles 68 and 69 of the Constitution and the Political Parties Law given that actions and statements made by the party became a focal point for terrorism against the indivisible integrity of the state,” Kılıç said.

The party’s founders including party leader Ahmet Türk as well as Aysel Tuğluk, Nurettin Demirtaş, Leyla Zana and Selim Sadak were banned from politics for five years, he said. They will be unable to found, join, administer or supervise any other political party during their ban.

In a press conference after the decision was announced, Türk said: “Turkey is going through a process, and we firmly believe one day they will be ready. Democracy and peace will become a reality.”

“Turkey will not solve the problem by closing this party,” he added. “My struggle will not end with the closure of the party.”

In addition, Türk and Tuğluk will be removed from their seats in Parliament as soon as the verdict is published in the Official Gazette. All of the party’s assets will be transferred to the Treasury, according to the ruling.

Kılıç rebuked the criticism related to the timing of the ruling while the government-led democratic initiative to solve the Kurdish problem is being debated in the country. “This case has lasted for more than two years. We have never made evaluations or opinions related to the democratization process,” he said.

Kılıç made clear that a political party has no right to resort to actions or statements in favor of terror and violence. “A political party has to make a distinction between pro-terror and peaceful messages,” Kılıç said. “The European Court of Human Rights is clear on this point.”

He said a political party that attempts to legitimize terror and violence is against the relevant conventions. “If they don’t act in this line, they have no right to suggest improvements for society.”

The 11-member top court began hearing the closure case early Tuesday. The court assessed the 141-item list of accusations submitted by Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Yalçınkaya filed a lawsuit at the court demanding the party’s closure on Nov. 16, 2007. In his submission, he alleged the DTP had become a focal point of separatist actions and that it maintained links to the PKK, a breach of the law on political parties.

The top court considered the list submitted by Yalçınkaya and the DTP’s defense against the accusations. As part of the deliberations, the court also examined speeches made by the party’s administrative team at rallies and in Parliament.

The banned members of the DTP include Abdulkadir Fırat, Abdullah İsnaç, Ahmet Ay, Ahmet Ertak, Ahmet Türk, Ali Bozan, Ayhan Ayaz Aydın Budak, Ayhan Karabulut, Aysel Tuğluk, Bedri Fırat, Cemal Kuhak, Deniz Yeşilyurt, Ferhan Türk, Fettah Dadaş, Hacı Üzen, Halit Kahraman, Hatice Adıbelli, Hüseyin Bektaşoğlu, Hüseyin Kalkan, İzzet Belge, Kemal Aktaş, Leyla Zana, Mehmet Veysi Dilekçi, Metin Tekçe, Murat Avcı, Murat Taş, Musa Farisoğlulları, Necdet Atalayı, Nurettin Demirtaş and Selim Sadak.

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