EU parliamentarians to visit southeastern Turkey
LONDON – Doğan News Agency
A photo taken on February 3, 2016 shows smokes rising over the district of Sur in Diyarbakır. AFP PhotoA delegation from the European Parliament’s (EP) Socialist Group, including EU Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri, is set to pay a visit Feb. 19 to the Sur district of southeastern Diyarbakır province, where the clashes between the security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants have been ongoing for months.
The delegate, which will include members from the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats (S&D), will be accompanied by Diyarbakır Governor Hüseyin Aksoy, Diyarbakır Mayor Gültan Kışanak and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair Hatip Dicle.
The visit comes at a time when clashes intensified not only in Sur but many other southeastern towns and in the wake of a deadly terror attack in the capital city of Ankara on evening of Feb. 17.
Representing PES, Deputy Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck, Jane Royal of England and Maurice Braud of France will be in the delegation while Knut Fleckenstein of Germany, Richard Howitt of England and the Netherlands’s Piri will also be attending the visit.
The delegate will meet with the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Kamuran Yüksek (considered to be the HDP’s predecessor) and Ayla Akat Ata from the Free Women’s Congress.
Representatives of several associations such as the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DTSO), the Diyarbakır Bar Association, the Federation of Southeastern Businessmen and Industrialists (GÜNSİAF) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) are also expected to be present during the visit.
Diyarbakır’s Sur has been one of the main districts where security forces and PKK militants have engaged in a series of clashes that have been ongoing since early December 2015. Many residents of the region have left their homes due to the heavy fighting.