Kurdish group declares democratic autonomy within Turkey’s borders


Aysel Tu?luk
The Democratic Society Congress (DTK), a platform that brings together Kurdish non-government organizations, met and declared “democratic autonomy” within Turkey’s territorial integrity in Diyarbak?r on Thursday.

Pro-Kurdish independent deputy Aysel Tu?luk told reporters in a declaration after a six-hour meeting of the DTK on Thursday that the Kurdish people declare democratic autonomy while remaining loyal to the national unity of Turkey under the country’s territorial integrity and based on democratic national principles. She also referenced international human rights documents that allowed them to do so.
Tu?luk, who is also chairwoman of the DTK, delivered a positive message regarding the centuries-long friendship of Turkish and Kurdish people in this land and warned that a continuing deadlock in the Kurdish issue will keep people in a situation of violence and conflict. The DTK’s declaration came at a time when outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members killed 13 soldiers and wounded seven others in an ambush in Diyarbak?r, escalating already high-running tensions.
Tu?luk stated that the solution to the Kurdish problem could only be solved if Kurds are recognized as a nation based on equal status. The Kurdish deputy also called on the international community to recognize the democratic autonomy her congress has declared.
The DTK, which describes itself as a local organization of Kurds in eastern Turkey comprising intellectuals, representative from civil society organizations, pro-Kurdish politicians and some members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), presented the first comprehensive draft of its “Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan Model” at a conference in Diyarbak?r in December of last year.
Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is known to be the mastermind behind the idea of democratic autonomy, a term no one can clearly define. The DTK argues the term refers to strong local government, but the government and other parties are suspicious that it would lead to the use of a separate language and flag, which they argue is out of the question.

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