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Kurdish Candidates in Turkey Can Now Run for Parliament

Turkey’s top election body says it has partly reversed a decision to bar some independent Kurdish candidates from a national ballot, reports Today’s Zaman.

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) said Thursday eight candidates are now eligible to run for Parliament, reversing a decision which had barred 12 candidates from participating in June elections due to past convictions for links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The board’s decision came after an evaluation of appeals by the candidates. It says two other appeals were still being evaluated while two others were rejected.

The YSK’s former decision, which came with less than two months left for the next general elections — slated for June 12 — has drawn Turkey deeper into tension and chaos. Thousands of protestors took to the streets mainly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country, denouncing the YSK decision with violent demonstrations. One man was killed and dozens of others were wounded in clashes with security forces.

On Thursday, Tirkish President Abdullah Gül appealed for common sense in the settlement of the crisis sparked by the YSK decision. He said some of the barred candidates appealed to the YSK for the revision of the earlier decision. “The problem surrounding their [candidates’] nomination should be overcome,” he noted. He later welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his office at the Çankaya presidential palace to discuss the controversial decision.