A group of lawmakers with alleged links to an outlawed Kurdish rebel group have taken the oath of office in Turkey’s parliament for the first time in 16 years. The government had severely cracked down on pro-Kurdish parties since 1994 accusing them of links with the PKK which is considered a terrorist organisation by the West and Ankara. One of Turkey’s new Kurdish lawmakers is Sebahat Tuncel, recently released after a nine-month stint in jail for alleged PKK membership. Authorities set her free after she was elected in an Istanbul constituency as lawmakers get automatic immunity from prosecution. She says her election as a representative for Instanbul, Turkey’s gateway to Europe, shows that people nationwide, not just in the Kurdish southeast, want peace. “That is how it should be understood,” she says. Her release sparked celebrations among Turkey’s Kurdish minority – but the revival of the pro-Kurdish movement has angered other lawmakers who view Kurdish separatism as a threat to national sovereignty.
Kurd poliiticians sworn into Turkish parliament