Burkay elected leader of HAK-PAR
Kemal Burkay, a Kurdish political activist and poet who returned to Turkey last year from Sweden, where he had been in exile since the 1980 coup d'état, has been elected the new leader of the pro-Kurdish Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR).

The fifth extraordinary party congress of HAK-PAR was held at the Kocatepe Culture Center in Ankara on Sunday. HAK-PAR's former leader, Bayram Bozyel, did not seek re-election at the congress in which Burkay and Mehdi Sarıkaya were the sole candidates for party leadership. Burkay received 274 votes while Bozyel received only one.

After his election, Burkay called on the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to lay down its weapons, saying that the use of weapons is an obstacle for the settlement of Turkey's long-standing Kurdish problem. "We will solve the Kurdish problem together with the Turkish people," he said.

Burkay also called on prisoners who are on a hunger strike to protest the prison conditions of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and to demand greater rights for Kurds such as education in their mother tongue and the ability to provide defense in Kurdish in court to end the strike.

"Their demands are just, but hunger strikes which are resorted to when circumstances are inappropriate do not yield results," he said.

When he returned to Turkey last June, Burkay was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd which included members of HAK-PAR.

He had said HAK-PAR is the political party that he feels is most closely aligned with his political views.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-05 20:00:02
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