Turn the tide

The BDP, that’s the Barış ve Demokrasi Partisi, the Peace and Democracy Party. Never heard of such a party in Turkey? You soon will, because it’s the new pro-Kurdish party, established already in the spring of this year because there was a closure case pending against the pro-Kurdish DTP party , represented in parliament by 21 MP’s. And yesterday it happened: the Constitutional Court closed down pro-Kurdish party DTP because of its ties with the PKK. ‘A party that has ties with a terrorist organisastion has to be closed down’, said chairman of the court Kılıç (meaning ‘sword’, by the way). Furthermore, 37 DTP members were banned from politics for five years, among them leader Ahmet Türk and member of parliament Aysel Tuğluk.

Now the BDP can take over. That is if they can find enough qualified people to work for the party, now that experienced Kurdish politicians can’t help out. Not banned from politics is prominent DTP member Emine Ayna. I reckon there is a chance she will get a good position in the BDP. Emine Ayna is known as being one of the more extreme and ideological DTP spokespersons, whereas Ahmet Türk was known to be moderate and pragmatic. If this happens, then the closure of the DTP will lead to even more polarisation in Turkey – if that were possible.

It’s only speculation, but in general no good can come of closing down political parties. Where will the Kurdish opening lead to from now on? How violent will the protests against the closure be, not only in the south east of Turkey, but also in cities with a large Kurdish population, like Istanbul, Izmir, Adana and Mersin? How will Turkish nationalists react to that? The good circle that was started with the Kurdish opening, very quickly turned into a negative circle. Will anybody be able to turn the tide? I don’t see who and how.

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