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Turkey preparing to welcome back exiled Kurdish intellectuals
1.       tunci
7149 posts
 02 Apr 2011 Sat 11:18 am

Turkey preparing to welcome back exiled Kurdish intellectuals

02 April 2011, Saturday / ERCAN YAVUZ, ANKARA

The most important Kurdish intellectual expected to return after the June 12 elections is Kemal Burkay, a socialist politician and poet.

Government agencies have initiated preparations that might soon allow for the return of Kurdish intellectuals, activists and writers who reside abroad, in an important leg of the government´s democratic initiative project.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told the relevant agencies to remove any obstacles that might prevent the return of Kemal Burkay, a Kurdish socialist who has been in Sweden since the 1980 coup d´état; Yaşar Kaya, chairman of the now-defunct Democracy Party (DEP) and Yılmaz Çamlıbel, the founder of the Democracy and Peace Party (DBP), another Kurdish party that was shut down by the Constitutional Court.

The issue returned to the government’s agenda when former DEP leader Kaya, who resides in Germany, went to northern Iraq for the sole purpose of meeting with Erdoğan face to face during Erdoğan’s visit to the region two days ago. Although no such meeting happened, Kaya was among the delegation that greeted Erdoğan at the airport. He had also written a letter to the prime minister, asking for the removal of any legal obstacles that keep him from returning to Turkey. Kaya’s statements about ending his exile in Germany were printed in most Turkish newspapers on Thursday. Sources say Erdoğan gave orders to remove any obstacles in the way of Kaya’s return.

Kaya was head of the DEP during the 1991 Kurdish oath crisis in Parliament, when DEP deputies wanted to take their oaths in Kurdish. He also formerly owned the Özgür Gündem daily, a publication that focused on the Kurdish question. However, he said that he and 24 reporters from the newspaper had to leave the country, fearing for their lives after DEP deputy Mehmet Sincar was killed in Batman in 1993.

Kaya first moved to Germany and there headed the Kurdish Parliament in exile, which got him into trouble in Turkey where a number of cases were launched against him. The legal cases were something of an official affirmation of his exile, warning him not to return.

He told Turkish reporters earlier this week that, currently, there is only one case against him in Turkey, the one regarding the Kurdish Parliament in exile. He said: “There is a hearing on June 26. I won’t return to Turkey if there is any chance of imprisonment. If I were young I would. I would go to jail, too, but I have had four heart surgery operations and my health won’t allow me. But I see that exile is an open-air prison and I want to return this time.”

On orders from Erdoğan, the Ministry of Justice will closely monitor this case. Kaya also criticized the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), saying they were a political “bloc” in terms of their party line. “The Kurdish question in Turkey is not in the hands of those who are knowledgeable. In the current state of affairs, Kurdish people in Turkey don’t have a right to set up other parties. There is a dominant singular mentality that hasn’t been able to rid itself of Stalinist policies. It is necessary for Kurds to get a liberal democratic party that looks to the West,” he stated.

Burkay and Çamlıbel to return

The most important Kurdish intellectual expected to return after the June 12 elections is Kemal Burkay. A socialist politician and poet, Burkay was recently threatened by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan for his support of the government’s democratization efforts. A significant portion of the legal obstacles that stand in the way of his return have been removed. However, uneasy about attempts to make his return appear as if he is collaborating with the government, he has chosen to return after the elections. DBP founder and writer Çamlıbel is also likely to return after the elections.

The government will be working on a draft to enable the return of not only Kurds abroad, but also some 50,000 people who lost their citizenship during the Sept. 12, 1980 coup d’état. Şivan Perwer, a Kurdish singer who resides in Germany, will also come to Turkey to attend festivals and concerts, although not permanently. He was also threatened by the PKK when he visited Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç during Arınç’s visit to Germany last month.



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2.       barba_mama
1629 posts
 02 Apr 2011 Sat 11:57 am

I think it´s a good first step, but it´s striking to see that the person who is welcomed back is the one who is threatened by Ocalan. So this must be seen as a starting point, and not the end of this democratization process. Next step is to stop this trend where political parties are forbidden.

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