BDP sets to hold banned meeting

BDP sets to hold banned meeting

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
BDP sets to hold banned meeting

Selahattin Demirtaş. DHA Photo

Senior officials of the Kurdish-issue-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), party members and supporters from different provinces appear determined to hold a banned rally on July 14 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, despite a decision by the Governor’s Office that it will not permit the gathering.

“We will declare a roadmap for this country’s [Turkey] peace and solution process on July 14. The government has banned our rally, but we will break this ban, without a doubt. We have the right to hold a rally in any part of the country,” Aysel Tuğluk, an independent deputy and co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), a Kurdish umbrella group, said earlier this week at a party meeting in Diyarbakır.

The BDP’s rally, to be called the “Democratic Resistance for Freedom Rally,” is to protest the large-scale detentions in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) probe as well as the “isolation policy” for Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The BDP expects a broad turnout for the Diyarbakır rally, as BDP provincial organizations throughout Southeastern Anatolia as well as from other parts of Turkey have announced that they will be in Diyarbakır on July 14. Clashes may erupt between the demonstrators and police, if the police do not allow demonstrators to enter İstasyon Square, where the rally is planned to be held.

Statements from BDP officials and leading figures from the DTK that they intend to go ahead with the planned rally, despite the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office’s announcement on Monday, have escalated tension. The government has attempted to justify its decision saying that the date of the rally coincided with two separate incidents, the first of which was the deadly attack perpetrated by the PKK in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district on July 14, 2011, which killed 13 soldiers. The Silvan attack, which came one month after the June 12, 2011 elections, is considered by many critics to have been a critical turning point that particularly pushed the government to abandon its “Kurdish opening” initiative. On the same day in 2011, the DTK announced “democratic autonomy” during an extraordinary congress in Diyarbakır.