Before Turkey’s parliamentary elections in June, many Kurdish politicians saw the government’s constitutional reform initiative as a chance to advance their community’s decades-long struggle for broader cultural and political rights. Now, with six elected Kurdish candidates barred from taking their seats in parliament, Kurds are reconsidering the need for changes in Turkey’s constitution.
On June 21, the Supreme Elections Board (YSK), blocked Hatip Dicle, a Kurdish parliamentary candidate from Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s majority Kurdish southeast, from taking his seat after an appeals court upheld a terrorism-related conviction against him. Dicle is also under investigation for alleged membership in the urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been categorized as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the United States.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.