DTP MPs decide on mass resignation from Turkish parliament

The lawmakers of the Turkey's DTP, banned by the Constitutional Court, decided to resign from the Turkish parliament.

DTP MPs decide on mass resignation from Turkish parliament

World Bulletin / News Desk

The lawmakers of the Turkey's Democratic Society Party (DTP), banned by the Constitutional Court, gathered on Monday in the southestern province of Diyarbakir and decided to resign from the Turkish parliament.

The leader of DTP, Ahmet Turk, closed after being found guilty of links to the outlawed PKK, said former party members would resign from parliament in protest.

"As you know, we have said before there is no reason to stay in parliament if our struggle for democracy is not taken into consideration ... We will submit our resignations to the speaker of the parliament in the shortest possible time," Turk said.

Other MPs speculated that they could join an alternative pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, Reuters said.

Replying a question of a reporter on wether the parliament would except the resignations, Turk said that "That's not our problem."

This could open the way for by-elections, increasing political uncertainty ahead of national polls due in 2011.

Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised the court decision.

"Our position against the closure of the DTP is clear ... We are against the closure of parties. We think individuals should be punished, not a (party) identity," Erdogan told parliament.

The verdict, threatens to undermine Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party's drive to reconcile Kurds with the state and end decades of conflict.

Analysts fear the ban on DTP would strengthen the hand of the militant PKK by undermining confidence in the democratic process and the government's current reform initiative.

The closure of the party prompted three days of violent street protests, mainly in the south east but also in the heart of Istanbul's shopping and entertainment district on Sunday.

In Diyarbakir, the largest city in the southeast, thousands of Kurds took to the streets, watched by riot police, for the fourth day of protests since the court disbanded the only party in parliament.

In the town of Dogubeyazit, angry protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police, who fired back with tear gas and water cannon.

The Constitutional Court ordered the closure of the DTP after finding it guilty of cooperating with the PKK, branded a terrorist organisation by Washington, Brussels and Ankara.

Last Mod: 15 Aralık 2009, 14:05
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