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Turkey's PM criticises ban on Kurdish party

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Turkey's PM criticises ban on Kurdish party

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan has slammed a constitutional court ban on the country’s only pro-Kurdish party in parliament.

Friday’s decision to outlaw the Democratic Society Party has caused angry protests across Turkey and plunged it into political uncertainty.

In an address to parliament Erdogan said:

‘‘Our position against the closure of the DTP is clear…..we are against the closure of parties. We think individuals should be punished not an identity.’‘

Erdogan has called for national unity following the ruling that prompted a parliamentary walkout by Kurdish MPs. Earlier, they were given a rousing reception in the south eastern city Diyarbakir, as thousands of Kurds rallied for a fourth day.

The verdict has raised ethnic tensions and triggered clashes between authorities and Kurds across the region with riot police using water cannon and smoke grenades to disperse crowds.

The ban of the DTP because of links to Kurdish separatists has also drawn criticism from the EU, dealing a fresh blow to Turkey’s chances of joining the bloc.