Turkey to name cus­to­di­ans to re­place Kur­dish may­ors

Er­do­gan de­ter­mined to ‘drain the swamp’ in south­east

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties will ap­point un­elected ad­min­is­tra­tors to run the mainly Kur­dish city of Diyarbakir, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day, af­ter de­tain­ing its two may­ors last week in a crack­down on un­rest in the south­east of the coun­try. Separately, po­lice de­tained 30 of­fi­cials from the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Re­gions’ Party (DBP) in dawn raids in three towns in the restive re­gion, se­cu­rity sources said.

Turkey’s Western al­lies are wor­ried about due process and a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion in the south­east as a crack­down against Kur­dish mil­i­tants widens to in­clude politi­cians and jour­nal­ists. Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan has vowed to “dry the swamp” to end a three-decade in­sur­gency that has killed more than 40,000 peo­ple, mainly Kurds. The state will name the ad­min­is­tra­tors - who will either be led by the deputy gover­nor or a dis­trict of­fi­cial - as soon as pos­si­ble un­der pow­ers en­acted via de­crees dur­ing emer­gency rule, im­posed af­ter a failed mil­i­tary coup in July, of­fi­cials told re­porters on con­di­tion their names were not used.

“It is ex­pected the In­te­rior Min­istry will as­sign new may­ors to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity af­ter the may­ors were dis­missed for ter­ror­ism links and ar­rested,” Diyarbakir Gover­nor Huseyin Ak­soy said in a state­ment. All gover­nors in Turkey are ap­pointed. A prose­cu­tor ac­cuses Gul­tan Kisanak, Diyarbakir’s first fe­male mayor and a for­mer par­lia­men­tar­ian, and her co-mayor Fi­rat Anli of ter­ror­ist links in con­nec­tion with pub­lic state­ments they made about the need for greater au­ton­omy for Kurds, who make up about 20 per­cent of a pop­u­la­tion of 79 mil­lion peo­ple.

Kisanak and Anli, both mem­bers of the DBP, deny di­rect ties with the armed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK), listed as a ter­ror­ist group by Turkey, the United States and Euro­pean Union. The EU, to which Turkey has ap­plied for mem­ber­ship, has called the ar­rests “deeply wor­ry­ing.” But Er­do­gan has said the re­moval of elected of­fi­cials and civil ser­vants ac­cused of links to the PKK is a vi­tal part of the bat­tle against it, as thou­sands have been killed since the col­lapse of a cease­fire in 2015.

In Oc­to­ber alone, au­thor­i­ties jailed 98 DBP of­fi­cials, the party said. The DBP dom­i­nates the south­east and is the sis­ter party of the Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party (HDP), par­lia­ment’s third­biggest group­ing, which has Kur­dish roots. Turkey on Satur­day closed 15 news­pa­pers, news agen­cies and mag­a­zines that re­port from the south­east, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of me­dia out­lets and pub­lish­ers closed since the coup to about 160. The clo­sure of the re­main­ing Kur­dish me­dia and the ap­point­ment of trus­tees to run Diyarbakir si­lences op­po­si­tion voices and “de­nies thou­sands of Kur­dish vot­ers their right to lo­cal po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” US-based Hu­man Rights Watch said. Au­thor­i­ties have also blocked the In­ter­net in cities across the re­gion for most of the past week.

Mean­while, Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said yes­ter­day that Turkey is con­sid­er­ing re­in­stat­ing lim­ited use of the death penalty if there is an agree­ment be­tween po­lit­i­cal par­ties. “If there is con­sen­sus with other po­lit­i­cal par­ties on this de­mand of the peo­ple... lim­ited ar­range­ments can be made,”Yildirim said in a speech in Ankara. He said it would not be used retroac­tively, but did not elab­o­rate fur­ther. Turkey abol­ished cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in 2004 as part of re­forms in­tro­duced in its bid to join the Euro­pean Union. It has not ex­e­cuted any­one since 1984.

But Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan had sug­gested Turkey could bring back the death penalty in the wake of the failed July coup. And hun­dreds of peo­ple have chanted “we want the death penalty!” at govern­ment ral­lies. But Brus­sels has warned any re­turn could mean the end of Ankara’s talks to join the 28-mem­ber bloc. Er­do­gan said at the week­end his govern­ment would ask par­lia­ment to con­sider rein­tro­duc­ing the death penalty to pu­n­ish the plot­ters be­hind the coup bid. His com­ments drew the ire of Euro­pean politi­cians in­clud­ing Aus­trian For­eign Min­is­ter Se­bas­tian Kurz who said it was “a cruel and in­hu­mane form of pun­ish­ment”.

The Coun­cil of Europe has also con­demned any move to re­in­state the death penalty, say­ing it was “in­com­pat­i­ble with mem­ber­ship of the Coun­cil”. De­spite Er­do­gan’s com­ments. Yildirim told law­mak­ers from his rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AKP): “I want it to be known that that this (death penalty) would not be ap­plied retroac­tively.”Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli told his law­mak­ers that he was ready to sup­port the AKP on the is­sue. “Since there is a need for the death penalty and since our na­tion wants this... there is no need to dis­cuss this un­nec­es­sar­ily. If the AKP is ready, the MHP has al­ways been ready,” Bahceli said.— Agen­cies

IS­TAN­BUL: Turk­ish riot po­lice of­fi­cers fire rub­ber bul­lets to dis­perse pro-Kur­dish Peo­ples’ Democ­racy Party (HDP) sup­port­ers dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in Is­tan­bul, fol­low­ing the ar­rests of the two co-may­ors in Diyarbakir. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.