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Turkey's Kurdish deputies to join BDP in Parliament

ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires | 12/18/2009 12:00:00 AM |

Lawmakers from Turkey’s main Kurdish party decided not to quit Parliament after their party was banned by the country’s top court last week and will join the Peace and Democracy Party. (UPDATED)

Lawmakers from Turkey’s main Kurdish party decided not to quit Parliament after their party was banned by the country’s top court last week and will join the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP.

The 19 lawmakers from the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, will stay in Parliament, former co-leader Ahmet Türk said in a press conference Friday. Türk and another member of Parliament were banned from politics by the court.

“We will continue politics with the BDP,” Türk said. “After the closure of six parties, opening a seventh one underlines our belief in democracy in this country.”

The DTP had earlier said that its lawmakers would quit Parliament if the party was banned. The Constitutional Court ruled last week that the DTP has links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

During the press conference, Türk said imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan relayed to his lawyers that he was against the deputies resigning from Parliament.

“The people wanted us to continue politics and they made themselves heard with a loud voice,” Türk said. “We have to have a unified vision. The Turkish nation and the Kurdish nation need to come together under one roof. Then we can change Turkey.”

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