16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Ahmet Türk, Kurdish intellectuals urge public to remain calm

15 April 2010, Thursday /AYŞE KARABAT
Ahmet Türk, the former chairman of the defunct Democratic Society Party (DTP), who was punched in the face on Monday, has urged the public to remain calm, adding that the passionate reactions to the attack have proven the strength of ties between Kurds and Turks.

“I have received many messages of goodwill from all segments of society and from politicians. I realize that we are not alone in our struggle for democracy. Once more it has been proven that the people want to support each other, and I hope the politicians will act accordingly,” Türk said while he was being discharged from the hospital. Türk was discharged from a hospital in Ankara two days after he had an operation due to his broken nose.

He was attacked on Monday shortly after reading a press statement in front of a courthouse in Samsun where a trial of a man charged with killing two protesters in the Bulanık district of Muş on Dec. 15 was being heard. His attacker, İsmail Çelik (23), who waits tables at a local coffeehouse, approached Türk, who is 68, after the statement and punched the former DTP leader in the face. Türk's nose was broken in the altercation. Çelik was arrested on Tuesday. In his testimony, he said that his attack was an individual action and that he is regretful and sorry.

Kurdish intellectuals and representatives of civil society organizations urged people to use common sense but at the same time underlined that the government should make efforts to reverse the increasing chauvinism in Turkey.

Meanwhile, in Hakkari, Yüksekova, Şemdinli, Van, Başkale and some areas of Mersin, shops were closed in protest of the attack.

The pro-Kurdish Democratic Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) demanded the removal of the governor of Samsun and the city's police chief, while the Interior Ministry opened an investigation into the case and provisionally removed two high-ranking police officers responsible for the security of the court building where Türk made his statement. Interior Minister Beşir Atalay visited Türk at the hospital on Tuesday.

However, according to Kurdish intellectuals and representatives of civil society organizations the incident was an organized attack and should be investigated thoroughly. They recalled that for many years attempts to harm Kurds and Kurdish politicians have been made but emphasized that everybody should stay calm and not fall victim to provocations.

Galip Ensarioğlu, the chairman of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Trade and Industry (DTSO), said that the aim of the attack was very clearly provocation. “Türk is one of the most respected figures in the society; he is known for his moderate views. If he was attacked, of course, this is a provocation to harm the current positive atmosphere. Everyone should be aware and act responsibly,” Ensarioğlu told Today's Zaman.

Diyarbakır Bar Association Chairman Emin Aktar suggested that the attack was an organized one and that even if it was not, there was severe neglect by the security forces in the incident.

“The court case was moved to Samsun for security reasons. If you have security concerns, you take measures against it. Plus, how come the attackers knew that Türk would be there? When Türk started his statement, people started chanting anti-Kurdish slogans. These slogans alone should require further security measures,” Aktar told Today's Zaman. He underlined that it's clear that there was a provocation attempt and that society should be calm, but he argued that the government must remove the Samsun chief of police.

Aktar noted that hostile attitudes toward Kurds are endemic to the country and need to end.

Bayram Bozyel, the chairman of the pro-Kurdish Rights and Freedoms Party (Hak-Par), said that all Kurds have been hurt and the attack shows that there are many individuals in society who would be willing to attack.

“This attack is a reflection of the deep anti-Kurdish feelings of the racist segment of society. But everybody should stay calm. The forces of democracy have to fight these provocations with democracy,” Bozyel told Today's Zaman.

Meanwhile, Atalay also urged the public not to act in response to the provocations.

Atalay, speaking to a TV program, said Türk is known for being courteous and moderate and urged people to remain calm in the wake of his attack and look to his example as a model of a reasoned and measured response to injustice.He added that they will not tolerate attempts at provocation, and he cautioned security forces to take better measures to prevent such attacks in the future.

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