Turkey's Kurdish MPs question Council of Europe's new president

Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party urged the Council of Europe to maintain its commitment to political rights.

Turkey's Kurdish MPs question Council of Europe's new president

Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party on Sunday urged the Council of Europe to maintain its commitment to political rights after the likely election this week of a member of Turkey's ruling party as its assembly's new president.

Mevlut Cavusoglu is the only candidate for president in an election on Monday at the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe's assembly.

Kurdish lawmakers last week applied to the council's European Court of Human Rights against a December ruling by Turkey's top court that banned their Democratic Society Party (DTP) on charges it maintains links with Kurdish militants, said Hasip Kaplan, a parliamentarian who belonged to the DTP.

"If Cavusoglu is to represent the Council of Europe, his role will require him to take heed of the Council of Europe's political criteria," Kaplan said in an e-mailed statement.

Kaplan questioned Cavusoglu's suitability for the job, saying the ruling AK Party has violated the constitutional rights of the DTP's successor, the Peace and Democracy Party, by blocking its membership in parliamentary commissions.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who has criticised the ban against DTP, has vowed to expand Kurdish rights to meet European Union membership standards and end a 25-year war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that has killed 40,000 people.

Turkey has outlawed some 25 political parties since 1960. In 2008, Erdogan's ruling AK Party narrowly escaped a ban on charges it was seeking to undermine the country's secular constitution.

Reuters
Last Mod: 25 Ocak 2010, 09:31
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