Banned Kurdish politician returns to Turkey

Photo: Banned Kurdish politician returns to Turkey / Turkey

Yasar Kaya, the 76-year-old writer and founder of the Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP), is returning to Turkey on Thursday from Germany, as an arrest warrant in Turkey was lifted after 21 years.

Kaya told the Anadolu Agency while boarding his plane in Frankfurt on Thursday, "We always support peace." Kaya thanked the solution process, initiated by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party which aims at establishing long-lasting peace in southeastern Turkey, for leading to his return.

Mentioning his days in exile, Kaya said, "Exile is like an open air prison. The months and years of longing and nostalgia have worn me out. If there was no solution process, we could not return to Turkey because there was an arrest warrant remaining over our heads."

The Democracy Party (DEP) was a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey. It was founded in May 1993 by several prominent members of the People's Labor Party. Due to the promotion of Kurdish nationalism, the party was banned by Turkey's Constitutional Court on June 16, 1994.

Six Kurdish Democracy Party deputies were arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2002, the European Court of Human Rights held the Democracy Party's dissolution to be contrary to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of association).

Due to their old age, Ankara's High Criminal Court no: 11 recently decided to lift the arrest warrants for Democracy Party members Yasar Kaya, Yusuf Serhat Bucak and Serafettin Kaya, on condition that they testify before the court within three months. After giving his testimony, Kaya will be immune from being charged again in connection with the Democracy Party, according to Article 246 of the Turkish Code of Criminal Procedure.

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