Turkey condemned for banning Kurdish party

The European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey for its 2009 banning of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party.

ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan (K24) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) condemned Turkey for its 2009 banning of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).

According to a judgement released on the ECtHR website on Tuesday, Turkey is believed to have violated the party’s right to freedom of assembly and its co-presidents’ rights to free elections.

The European rights court reasoned that the DTP was a main political actor "in favour of a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem" in Turkey.

Turkey's Constitutional Court banned DTP, claiming it was a "focal point of activities against the indivisible unity of the [Turkish] state, the country and the nation." The country's then chief prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, accused DTP of taking orders from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

DTP leaders Ahmet Turk and Aysel Tugluk were stripped of parliamentary immunity by the top Turkish court and were banned from politics for five years. Both leaders' memberships to the Turkish Parliament were subsequently removed.

The ECtHR also charged Turkey to pay Turk and Tugluk thirty thousand Euros each in penalty, in a binding decision.

DTP was the last of the seven pro-Kurdish political parties that the highest Turkish court banned between the years 1993 and 2009.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) succeeded the DTP but dissolved itself in 2014, giving way to the rise of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), co-headed by Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

Meanwhile, the ECtHR rejected a demand by two Kurdish lawyers for an interim injunction to remove the ongoing curfew in the town of Cizre in Sirnak Province.

Cizre has been the focal point of intermittent weeks-long curfews by Turkish authorities. Turkey's army and police have been locked in street clashes with local affiliates of the PKK since September 2015.

Erkan Senses, one of the lawyers who filed an appeal to the ECtHR on behalf of a Cizre resident, told K24 in an online messaging service that their appeal was reviewed by one judge and not a panel.

He revealed that the court decided it cannot rule out an injunction order to the Turkish authorities with the evidence and data presented. Senses said that he and his team could appeal again “if the conditions change."