Kurdish group to demand autonomy in new charter

Kurdish group to demand autonomy in new charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Kurdish group to demand autonomy in new charter

Independent deputy Ahmet Türk (L) speaks as Peace and Democracy Party co-leader Gültan Kışanak (2-L) looks on during a news conference in Ankara on Jan 13. Türk will today join a parliamnetary commission session on the new charter.

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella organization that brings together various Kurdish groups and politicians, has submitted its proposal to Parliament for the new constitution and is expected to renew its demand for democratic autonomy.

DTK co-chairman and Mardin independent deputy Ahmet Türk is scheduled to meet with the Constitution Conciliation Commission today, confirmed Democratic Society Party (DTP) Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan to the Hürriyet Daily News.

While the DTK had declared its proposals of “democratic autonomy” in the past, this marks the first time the demand was brought to an official commission.

Türk’s verbal pitch to Parliament today was sent in writing last week and includes radical demands from the DTK, compiled from meetings with citizens of Kurdish origin, NGOs, opinion leaders, intellectuals, writers and artists.

Regional autonomy

The DTK suggested a regional autonomy in executive, legislative and judicial areas, stating that the Turkish government’s overly centrist bureaucratic structure needed to be toned down and large governments in the world were all embracing a more local approach to governing.

This change is crucial to ensure locals could contribute to the decision-making process and the region’s resources were used in line with local needs, said the DTK.

The emphasis on “Turkishness” should be completely removed from the new constitution, further proposed the DTK, saying the charter must not focus on any single race in order to embrace and protect all of the ethnic and cultural groups in Turkey. The definition of constitutional citizenship should not create discrimination between Turks, Kurds or other ethnic identities, said the DTK.

As part of their demand for constitutional equality, the DTK further demanded education and public services in native languages as well as in scientific, religious and artistic activities.

When writing the new constitution, universal norms should be embraced, said the DTK, suggesting that in order to give power to the public’s will, the guardianship of the appointed figures in the military, bureaucracy and judiciary over the elected representatives of the public should end.

The National Security Board (MGK) should be shut down, added the DTK in its proposal.

As a final note, the DTK emphasized the election threshold must be removed, as well as changes to the Election Law and the Political Parties Law so that political parties were not limited by ideological or national reasons and a truly democratic society could be achieved.

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