Turkey’s prime minister is calling for national unity after a court banned the only Kurdish party in parliament.
The ruling triggered a parliamentary boycott by Kurdish MPs who received a heroes’ welcome when they visited Diyarbakir in the south-east of the country.
The European Commission has warned that the verdict could deprive a substantial portion of Turkish voters from representation, contravening its democratic mandate.
In Diyarbakir, the largest city in the southeast, thousands of Kurds took to the streets watched by riot police during a fourth day of protests. The ban has sparked clashes between Kurds and Turkish police in towns across the region.
The ruling AK party wants to push reforms aimed at ending decades of conflict with Kurdish separatists and, in his first comments since the verdict was delivered, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of the need for a national sense of determination.
“We will overcome these problems as long as our nation is united and in solidarity,” he said.
Erdogan is due to address parliament to discuss in detail the ban on the DTP, which has dealt a fresh blow to Turkey’s hopes of joining the European Union.