Kurdish protesters run away from tear gas during clashes with riot police in a street demonstration on April 19, 2011 in Istanbul after Turkey’s electoral board barred prominent Kurdish candidates from standing in upcoming elections. Turkish riot police fired teargas and water cannons during pitch battles with thousands of demonstrators infuriated by the ban. (AFP/Mustafa Ozer)
Masked demonstrators clash with police during a protest in Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey, April 19, 2011. Turkey’s main Kurdish party threatened to withdraw from June’s parliamentary election after 12 independents were barred from standing in a move sparking street clashes and an opposition appeal to recall parliament. Police fired water cannon and tear gas on demonstrators in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast as they protested the ruling. REUTERS/Stringer
They are all banned again…
The YSK is having a difficult time on deciding about some of these nominations due to Article 76 of the Constitution, which says those who have been convicted of participating in terrorist acts or encouraged terrorist acts are not eligible to stand in elections. The finalized lists will be printed in the Official Gazette on April 19. The Supreme Election Board (YSK) idenied 12  of the parliamentary candidate nominees from various political parties will be eligible to run in the upcoming elections. They include Leyla Zana and Hatip Dicle, who were to run as independents but represent the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is attempting to circumvent Turkey’s 10 percent election barrier by endorsing independents. The Supreme Election Board, or YSK?s, decision to cancel the candidacies of 12 independent applicants is final and can only be changed if a technical error is found, the head of Turkey?s top court said Tuesday.
Gareth Jenkins writes about the arrests of journalists critical of the Gülen movement as part of a larger power struggle between PM Erdogan and the Gülen movement. He suggests that the Gülenists, through their influence in the security forces and courts, have shut down any critical media voices by accusing them of belonging to a terrorist organization ? Ergenekon, which originally had been construed as a series of coup plots against the AKP government by rogue elements of the ?deep state?, but has since taken on the characteristics of a witch hunt (my term) against anyone critical of the Gülen movement.
On June 12 Turkey?s electorate will go to the polls in the country?s 17th general election. In each of the last two elections, in 2002 and 2007, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has emerged as a comfortable winner. It is all but certain to do so again this year. There are risks to this forecast, but they have diminished greatly in recent months. It remains the case that the opposition parties would not have to boost their combined performance by that great a margin to rein in the AKP, but it is more or less clear at this stage that they do not have it in them yet to raise their game sufficiently.