ISTANBUL – Kurdish groups in Turkey have announced long term civil disobedience to demand more cultural and political freedom. They have started with mass sit-ins in several cities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country. On Thursday thousands of people are expected to gather in the city of Batman, according to reports in Turkish papers on Thursday.
The actions have been initiated by pro-Kurdish Party for Peace and Democracy (BDP) and the Congress for a Democratic Society (DTK), an umbrella organisation of Kurdish leaders and groups. The organizers expect about 20,000 participants at a sit-in in the city of Batman. Thursday morning started with tension: the police ordered activists and political leaders to disperse and started arresting people when the order was ignored. About fifty people were arrested, among them a provincial governor.
The Kurds have four demands: education in their mother tongue, the release of all political prisoners, the end of military and political actions against Kurds and the abolishment of the 10% election threshold (that was once introduced to keep Kurds out of parliament).