Turkish pro-Kurdish party ban stirs protests

Sun, 13 Dec 2009
Clashes broke out between Kurdish demonstrators and riot police in Turkish southeastern city of Diyarbakir, where Kurds form a majority of the population.

Riot police used tear gas and water canons in an attempt to dispel the crowd that had gathered outside the city’s party headquarters.

In Istanbul, about 100 demonstrators protested outside of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) office there, with some throwing stones at police.

Earlier on Friday, a Turkish court banned the country’s only pro-Kurdish political party because of its alleged connections to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, known as the PKK.

The DTP was a “focal point of activities against the indivisible unity of the state, the country, and the nation,” Constitutional Court president Hasim Kilic told reporters in Ankara on Friday.

Friday’s ruling means the party will be dissolved immediately, and its assets absorbed by the national treasury.

The atmosphere had been tense in advance of the ruling, with two people killed in clashes. PKK rebels also killed seven Turkish soldiers during an ambush in northern Turkey earlier this month.

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