22 deputies open the door of parliament to DTP

Independent candidates supported by the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a strongly Kurdish-affiliated party, have won at least 22 parliamentary seats and will be able to form a group in Turkey's legislature.

22 deputies open the door of parliament to DTP
Independent candidates supported by the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a strongly Kurdish-affiliated party, have won at least 22 parliamentary seats and will be able to form a group in Turkey's legislature.

One of these new deputies, Sabahat Tuncel, will go to Parliament from prison. She had been incarcerated on claims of being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

DTP supporters were clearly excited on Sunday evening as the election results began to come in, particularly at the party's office in Diyarbakır. On Sunday at 7 p.m. supporters of the independent candidates started to gather in front of the DTP building and shouted slogans in Turkish such as, "Just wait Ankara, the Kurds are coming."

In the hours immediately after polling stations closed in eastern and southeastern Anatolia, at 4 p.m., anticipation of the results started to grow. In the evening DTP supporters were convinced that they had won almost all the seats they were expecting. In Diyarbakır the four candidates supported by the DTP were certain after the first results that all of them would make it to Parliament. However there were disappointments -- in İstanbul votes were divided between DTP independent candidate Doğan Erbaş and independent Baskın Oran, supported by independent leftists.

Because of Turkey's 10 percent election threshold, the DTP chose to enter independent candidates in order to overcome the barrier. Rather than campaigning in every constituency, they only ran in places where there was a strong chance of success.

As Today's Zaman was going to print it was almost clear that of those independent candidates supported by the DTP, the following will have a parliamentary seat:

From Hakkari Sabahattin Suğracı and Hetem İlke; from Mardin the chairman of the DTP Ahmet Türk and Emine Ayna; from Muş Sırrı Sakık; from İstanbul's third district Sebahat Tuncel; from Şanlıurfa İbrahim Binici; from Van Fatma Kurtulan; from Şırnak Hasip Kaplan and Sevahir Bayındır; from Bitlis Mehmet Nezir Karabaş; from Diyarbakır former Chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Akın Birdal, Aysel Tuğluk, Gültan Kışanak and Selahattin Demirtaş; from Siirt Osman Özçelik; from Tunceli Şerafettin Halis; from Batman Ayla Akat Ata and Bengi Yıldız; and from Iğdır, Pervin Buldan. The chairman of the Freedom and Solidarity Party, (ÖDP) Ufuk Uras, also supported by the DTP, won a seat. It is expected that he will join the DTP parliamentary group.

Former DTP Deputy Chairman Aysel Tuğluk, who resigned from her party to become an independent candidate, said after casting her vote that she hopes democracy and peace will be the winners in the elections. "If people wish to send us to Parliament, we will participate in the process of constructing a democratic republic. We will work according to the principles of tolerance and brotherhood," Tuğluk said.

Tuğluk underlined that they would work for a solution for the Kurdish problem but said that does not mean their platform would constitute of only one plank. She also noted that after entering Parliament they would reunite under the roof of the DTP again. In order to have a group in Parliament a party must have at least 20 deputies.

There were difficulties for independent candidates in certain areas as some voters were illiterate. To combat this, the DTP published 300,000 sample ballots to deliver to its voters to help prevent errors on election day. In DTP strongholds the party nominated more than one independent candidate. DTP members visited homes to "train" their potential voters one by one with sample ballots. The party even displayed a huge sample ballot on the wall of its Diyarbakır branch office to show their supporters the DTP candidates' order and names. Observers in the area say that the DTP on Sunday had a strong showing in the polls and was ready to help voters.

Similar enthusiasm was also seen in the eastern city of Van. The election office of independent candidate Fatma Kurtulan was filled with her supporters as the preliminary results came in. A huge television screen was installed outside her office to follow the results. Similar euphoric scenes were seen in other eastern and southeastern cities.

Meanwhile DTP headquarters in Ankara was very much like election day itself: quiet. However below the surface staff there were working to consolidate reports of small problems that had occurred throughout the day.

Today's Zaman

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Temmuz 2007, 13:17
YORUM EKLE