Posted by: hevallo | February 24, 2011

>Kurds begin Kurdish Democratic Autonomy in Turkey!

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Kurdish Democratic Autonomy!
The establishment of 50 village communes, 21 neighborhood councils, four district councils and a yet-to-be-set-up provincial council in some southeastern provinces is the first concrete step in implementing pro-Kurdish groups’ demands for social, political, economic and cultural autonomy. ‘This is a struggle for the people to create their own democratic organization,’ says Cemal Coşkun, a spokesman for the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK
BDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş (C) and Gültan Kışanak (R) walk during a rally to support 'democratic autonomy.' AA photo

BDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtaş (C) and Gültan Kışanak (R) walk during a rally to support ‘democratic autonomy.’ AA photo

A long-discussed “democratic autonomy project” has been launched in the Southeast Anatolian province of Diyarbakır, where Kurdish groups have established nearly 50 village communes as well as neighborhood and district councils.

Included in these structures are justice commissions that will penalize violence against women and fights between individuals, Cemal Coşkun, a spokesman for the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, confirming the launch of the initiative. The communes also include commissions for women, youth, culture, art and finance.

“Councils have been set up in Diyarbakır, Van and Batman, with plans to expand to 15 other provinces,” Coşkun said. “Local problems are solved among local villagers and district residents. They want to plant a tree, they plant a tree. They need water, they get water. This is a struggle for the people to create their own democratic organization, [dealing with issues ranging] from health to education, culture to economy.”

The establishment of 50 village communes, 21 neighborhood councils, four district councils and a yet-to-be-set-up provincial council is the first concrete step in implementing Kurdish groups’ demands for social, political, economic and cultural autonomy.

In many European and other countries, the word “commune” is used for the smallest type of administrative district.

Women and young people make up half of the council members, according to the February issue of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP’s, monthly magazine, “The Voice of Peace.” The BDP used the publication to announce the launch of the project under the banner of the DTK, an umbrella organization of pro-Kurdish groups and figures.

According to the article, the “solution” to the country’s long-running Kurdish issue is not a “central government” but “councils that give locals a voice in the administration.”

The village communes

The initial phase of the project includes the creation of 50 village communes in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district; plans are underway to introduce the idea in other districts as well.

In each village where a commune is set up, an 11- to 13-person council, depending on the village’s population, is established as well. Each village will have two speakers, one of whom must be female, echoing the co-leader model of the BDP. The speakers will be elected once every six months, and the council will be renewed once a year.

The communes, in addition to holding weekly meetings in villages, will hold monthly meeting with the other village speakers. Decisions made at meetings must be enforced within 90 days. Any village that misses this deadline will be temporarily cut off from the other villages.

Any person who commits violence against women, steals someone else’s belongings or enters into a polygamous marriage will first be warned by the commune; if the crime continues, that person will be forced out of the commune.

The neighborhood councils

The neighborhood councils, made up of 20 to 30 people selected by residents of the neighborhood, handle a broader scope of issues aimed at solving collective matters in the district through dialogue. Like the communes, the councils have a two-speaker model with one female, one male.

Nine neighborhood councils have been set up in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar district, five in the province’s Karapınar district, four in the Sur district and three in the Yenişehir district.

Each council includes a disciplinary committee and commissions on finance, culture and arts, women and youth. The neighborhood councils hold weekly local meetings and monthly collective meetings with other councils. Speakers are elected every six months and each council is elected annually.

The structure set up in the pilot region also handles judiciary and defense, according to the article in the BDP’s magazine.

“Drugs, prostitution, robbery, violence against women and similar issues will be handled though a warning by the council, and if the crime continues, the individuals will be forced out of the district,” the article said.

The provincial council

The provincial council, the largest regional organ, has yet to be set up. The Provincial General Assembly will be made up of 450 members, including members of the other councils as well as opinion leaders, workers, local management, women, youth and representatives of nongovernmental organizations.

The general assembly includes commissions in the areas of discipline, belief groups, women, youth, culture, arts and finance.

An executive council of 35 members represents the provincial council, and will hold weekly meetings in addition to the monthly general assembly meeting.

The provincial council encompasses all structures and will hold two conventions each year.

‘Two nations living under one state’

DTK spokesman Coşkun confirmed to the Daily News that the project is in effect in some provinces of the region, with some village communes and district and neighborhood councils already set up, while the provincial council is still being worked on. He added that the communes’ self-protection power does not come through weapons: “By defense, they mean organizing against economic, social and political degenerative elements, such as raising awareness against drugs and prostitution.”

The justice commission, according to Coşkun, will not sentence people to prison, but rather solve disputes. “If someone commits murder, the government will send them to prison. But if two families are involved in a fight, then the district council will step in to reconcile the two families,” he said.

The solution for Turkey is not a “nation-state,” but rather “two nations living under the roof of one state,” Coşkun said, adding that there are many similar examples worldwide.

The basis of the project, he said, is the model defending democratic autonomy that was brought up after 1999 by Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Source:Hurriyet

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