BDP deputies to enter Parliament today

Labor, Democracy and Freedom Block deputies will enter Parliament today. But five MPs remain behind bars

In an hour or so Labor, Democracy and Freedom Block deputies will enter Parliament. In fact not all the deputies will be there. Hatip Dicle for a start has been illegally stripped of his mandate and is now in prison while his seat is wrongfully occupied by an AKP woman who got times and times less votes than Dicle. The people of Diyarbakir in their majority had chosen Dicle to represent them in Ankara. They were denied their choice and instead on their head was imposed someone they did not want. This is a problem of democracy to say the least. And one which need to be addressed in parliament. The BDP group will be also short of another 5 deputies today, as Kemal Akta?, ?brahim Ayhan, Faysal Sar?y?ld?z, Gülser Y?ld?r?m and Selma Irmak, are still in prison.
The BDP decision to end the boycott it undertook since after the election results, on 12 June, has been a pondered one. As the party co-chair Selahattin Demirta? said, “a new approach is needed”. In parliament the BDP deputies will bring not just the weight of the unjust imprisonment of their colleagues (and indeed of the thousands Kurds held in the context of the KCK case) but also the Kurdish question as a whole. Which means, of course, to start with, the demand to stop the war and aggression on the Kurdish people. To stop the unjust detentions, repression, unlawful killings. To stop the undemocratic ban on education in the mother tongue. The BDP will talk and argue for the need to end the isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdish leader and the interlocutor of the state (as accepted by the state itself) for any peace negotiation. The BDP will argue for a new Constitution which really embraces and recognise – defending them – the rights of all sections of the society. The BDP entering Parliament indeed equals a new hope for peace. And a hope for the building of a new, truly democratic and inclusive society.
Many of the deputies entering parliament today will have mixed feelings about it.

For Leyla Zana it will be the second time. The first time she was elected in the ’90s and when 17 years ago she entered parliament it was to feel and live on her own skin the hate spilling out from the benches – government’s and opposition’s alike. Zana, for the words of friendship and peace she spoke at the oath ceremony, has paid a very high price: 10 years in prison and still dozens of trials and charges.

For Ertu?rul Kürkçü, long time socialist, it would be the first time in the Parliament. “Once before I was here – he said – but that was with Dev-Genç and we came to occupy the parliament building”.

For others it will be the second terms in the General Assembly. Surely today marks a new phase. Difficult, full of obstacles and sadness. Yet as Kürkçü said, “we are hopeful”.

Hope is not just a sentiment, a feeling. Is something to build on. From hope comes trust and from trust dialogue. It will take time, everybody in the Kurdish camp is aware of the challenge. And everybody in the Kurdish camp is up for it. It remains to be seen if people on the other camp are ready and willing to respond to this challenge.


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