Ahmet Türk welcomes deputy PM’s signals on Kurdish in court

Ahmet Türk welcomes deputy PM’s signals on Kurdish in court

Ahmet Türk welcomes deputy PM’s signals on Kurdish in court

Ahmet Türk, DHA Photo

Prominent Kurdish deputy Ahmet Türk has welcomed Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s suggestion that the government could permit Kurds to defend themselves in their native tongue in a bid to end an ongoing hunger strike in prison.

"This is a precious statement [by Arınç]. This is a statement which softens the process. It is a statement which might make us change our decisions. The manner of the politics wasn't very inclusive, but Arınç’s statement is very important to us. We will evaluate this. Of course, we would like to see concrete steps of it in practice,” Türk, an independent deputy and the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congres, told private channel CNNTürk yesterday.

Arınç made the comments late yesterday after a Cabinet meeting.

Türk also demanded a solution to end the hunger strike in which 682 inmates are refusing food to demand an end to the isolation of imprisoned outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, as well as permission to use Kurdish in court and as a language of instruction.

"Before deaths occur and before events proceed too much further, [we must settle this problem in the correct way],” Türk said.

Government starts work on process enabling defense in Kurdish

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has given an order to his justice minister to complete the ongoing work that will give a chance to suspects making their defense in language they prefer during trials, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said on Nov. 5.

His statement came as the inmates in several prisons across Turkey resume hunger strikes, demanding an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the convicted leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is serving a life sentence on İmralı Island in the Marmara Sea. Öcalan’s lawyers have not been allowed on İmralı Island for the last 15 months. The protestors also demand lifting restrictions on the use of their mother tongue – Kurdish – in courts and education facilities.
Inmates don’t need to stage dangerous hunger strikes in order to voice their demands, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has said in a call for inmates to give up their protests.

“Two of the three issues they demand have almost been resolved for now. The other issue, however, should be worked on and evaluated in time,” Arınç told reporters Oct. 5.

Some 682 inmates in 67 Turkish prisons are staging hunger strikes, according to the latest numbers revealed by the Justice Ministry.