BDP threatens to boycott Parliament


Turkey’s main Kurdish political party has threatened to withdraw from parliament due to arbitrary arrests of its MP’s in the past months. Pro-Kurdish peace and democracy party (BDP) secured 36 seats in the June 12 parliamentary election. BDP boycotted parliament afterwards because six of its MPs were imprisoned, and many Pro-Kurdish intellectuals, legal professors and deputies have been arrested since.

MP Altan Tan told a prominent Turkish newspaper that BDP will make it very hard for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to draft the constitution alone without giving BDP a role in the drafting process.

Since 2009, nearly 2,000 people have been detained on charges of being members of KCK, which is abbreviated to mean Union of Communities in Kurdistan. Among those BDP supporters, and deputies. In the last 6 months alone;

  1. 1548 arrests have been made
  2. 4148 people have been detained
  3. 2 Provincial general assembly speakers detained
  4. 4 provincial general assembly deputy speakers jailed
  5. 29 municipal assembly members are jailed
  6. 10 mayors jailed
  7. 1 Mayor detained
  8. 8 Mayor assistants arrested
  9. 2 Deputy mayors arrested
  10. 2 former mayors arrested

Fazel Hawramy, prominent Kurdish Blogger explained that Professor Bushra Ersanli has been detained which “makes it very difficult for BDP to put forward their views within a legal perspective in the new constitution” and “with a few thousand of their activists and BDP members in jail, I don’t blame them if they decide to boycott parliament”.

One of the reasons for BDP returning to parliament was to help in the drafting of a new constitution, inclusive of Kurdish people, giving them constitutionally protected rights but due to the increased arbitrary arrests, BDP has become marginalised.

Zaahira Mahomed from South Africa said “I think that its essential to unmask the arbitrary and authoritarian character of the Turkish government” through boycotting it.

How can the Constitutional Committee be perceived as inclusive of ethnic minorities in Turkey when Kurdish political parties are being marginalised, and continuously undermined. And more importantly, this will sabotage the image of Turkey as the perfect model for Arab countries to implement — the secular state will not be perceived as an ideal state if it does not give Kurdish people an equal hand in drafting the new constitution.