(Special report from Istanbul by Armenian Weekly columnist Ayse Gunaysu)
ISTANBUL (A.W.)–The Turkish state started a new war against the civilian Kurdish political movement in 11 provinces, from Diyarbakir and neighboring cities to Istanbul and Izmir. Homes of prominent DTP (the Kurdish party recently closed down by the Constitutional Court) leaders were broken into at 5 a.m. and around 60 people, including mayors of Kurdish provinces and districts and the human rights association chairperson in Diyarbakir were arrested. Their rights to see their lawyers are suspended for the first 24 hours.
The Human Rights Association (HRA) Diyarbakir branch was among the places where searches were made. Raids and searches by security forces in HRA branches was something that did not happen even during the most difficult times of the emergency rule in the region in the 1990’s.
The news came as a shock as the former DTP leaders had declared that they gave up on their plans to leave the parliament and decided to continue their parliamentary struggle. Earlier, all hope had disappeared because of the closure of DTP just after the launching of the governments alleged peace initiative, the violent street protests that followed, and a suspicious ambush on a military unit in Tokat by a group of guerillas killing 7 soldiers triggering hateful protests in the west by nationalists.
Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir gave a press conference in front of the Diyarbakır DTP organization offices protesting the arrests. He was surrounded by DTP MPs and party leaders.
Baydemir, regarded as a most polite and refined Kurdish leader, used very harsh language, even resorting to the F-word (which is, in Turkish, much stronger than its equivalents in western languages), shocking everybody. He added, “We are now violating and will continue to violate whatever law our arrested party leaders and mayors have violated.” He also said, addressing the government, that they will not find any hand to hold when they themselves reach out tomorrow to the Kurdish people.
North Kurdistan People’s Initiative, a section of PKK, called for a “total revolt” in cities, on the streets and on the mountains.