Kurdish politician loses parliament seat in Turkey

Turkey’s electoral board ruled that a newly elected Kurdish politician cannot take up a seat in parliament because of his recent conviction on terrorism—related charges.

The High Electoral Board announced late Tuesday that Hatip Dicle, who is already in jail, does not qualify to become a lawmaker in Turkey’s new parliament, elected on June 12.

Dicle was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2009, accused of making propaganda on behalf of a Kurdish rebels. The politician had appealed the ruling but a high court confirmed his conviction days before the elections.

Dicle, one of several politicians backed by a Kurdish party, was elected as an independent from the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. Independents supported by the party won 36 seats in the 550—member parliament. The other 35 independents last week threatened to boycott the work of parliament over the issue.

Ahmet Turk, who heads the Kurdish movement, the Democratic Society Congress, said the ruling “aims to drag Turkey and our people into a process of conflict.

“Our people will react to this undemocratic decision,” Mr. Turk said.

On Wednesday, a policeman was killed and another wounded after a roadside explosion in the mainly Kurdish province of Tunceli, the state—run Anatolia news agency reported. It was not immediately known what caused the explosion or if it was related to electoral board’s decision.

Dicle’s lawyers on Wednesday appealed the electoral’s board decision, but the board’s chairman, Ali Em, suggested the ruling was final, saying it had already been published in the Official Gazette.

The Kurdish politician’s seat was now likely to go to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party’s candidate, the Vatan newspaper reported. The party took 50 percent of the votes on June 12, winning 326 seats in the assembly.

Dicle was first elected to parliament in 1991. He was stripped of his parliamentary immunity in 1994 and spent 10 years in prison for links to the PKK.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 2:44:45 PM |

Next Story