Kurdish Deputies cancel Black Sea tour after violent protests

The demonstrators attacked police and members of the press with stones as they waited for the deputies to exit the hotel.

Kurdish Deputies cancel Black Sea tour after violent protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kurdish Deputies cancelled Black Sea tour after meeting violent protests.

An angry crowd of people staged violent demonstrations against the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the Black Sea province of Samsun on Tuesday following a similar attempt to assault the deputies in Sinop on Monday.

An angry mob of around 1,000 people gathered in front of the building of the Revolutionist 78ers Federation and provincial office of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), where BDP deputies were set to pay a visit, throwing stones at the building and chanting slogans against the deputies.

The BDP deputies had traveled to Samsun from the Black Sea city of Sinop, where they faced a similar assault by a crowd. The BDP's Black Sea tour is part of its efforts to explain to the people of the region the peace talks, which began when politicians entered into negotiations with the imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan.

Another group of around 50 people gathered in front of the hotel where BDP deputies held a news conference on Tuesday. When security forces approached, the demonstrators began to chant slogans saying, “We don't want PKK in Samsun,” and “Police, hand them over to us.”

The demonstrators attacked police and members of the press with stones as they waited for the deputies to exit the hotel. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

At the news conference, BDP deputies spoke mostly of the attack against them on Monday in Sinop.

BDP deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü claimed that the attacks in Sinop were the work of the Turkish Gladio. In the Turkish context, Gladio, a stay-behind army set up in NATO countries during Cold War years to counter a communist invasion, refers to illegal structures nested in the state. Kürkçü said the incidents in Sinop were masterminded by such structures, adding: “What is at question is an organized policy to create tensions. The incidents in Sinop did not prevent us from coming here. We would face the same incidents if we had gone to Artvin [a Black Sea province known to have leftist tendencies] instead of Sinop.”

Kürkçü claimed that the incidents in Sinop exposed the negligence and shortcomings of provincial administrators.

“We were not the cause of the incidents there,” he added.

An ultranationalist youth group attempted to attack BDP deputies at a teacher's lodge in Sinop, where they had arrived for a meeting on Monday. The ultranationalist youth organization is known as Ülkü Ocakları and is affiliated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Police had a difficult time controlling the angry group, whose slogans included “Martyrs don't die; the homeland cannot be divided.”

At the news conference in Samsun, Kürkçü was accompanied by BDP deputies Sebahat Tuncel, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and independent Kurdish deputy Levent Tüzel. Kürkçü complained that police were slow to respond to the incidents in Sinop. “Everyone has the right to demonstrate and criticize others, but nobody has the right to throw stones at a public building with people inside,” he remarked.

The attack against BDP deputies in Sinop was met with criticism by politicians as well on Tuesday. Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said everyone has the responsibility to show respect to BDP deputies' meetings as long as they are legal. “Whether you like it or not, they are the democratically elected deputies of this country. Everyone should pay respect to their [BDP deputies'] meetings as long as they are in accordance with the law,” the prime minister said, labeling the attack an act of disrespect to the peace initiative.

In his speech, Erdoğan accused the MHP and the BDP of spreading racist discourse, adding that the Republican People's Party (CHP) remains silent on the issue of racism.

“The AK Party speaks the same language as the nation,” he further remarked, adding that neither the CHP nor the MHP represents the whole of society.

BDP co-chairperson Gültan Kışanak, speaking at her party's own parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, put the blame on the Sinop mayor, a CHP party member, for the incidents in Sinop on Monday.

She said Sinop mayor Baki Ergül made provocative statements and his party has additionally so far failed to make any statement on the issue. “This situation is very thought-provoking,” she said, condemning the incidents.

Kışanak said that some groups are trying to present the people of the Black Sea region as if they are against peace. In the meantime, police launched a large-scale investigation into the violent events in Sinop and try to find out whether there were provocateurs among the demonstrators in the city.

Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2013, 17:50
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