The PDK-T was founded in Diyarbakir in Turkey’s southeastern region by 40 senior members.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A party with the word “Kurdistan” in its name has officially been approved in Turkey for the first time.
"We are very pleased with the decision,” said Mehmet Emin Kardas, leader of the new Kurdistan Democratic Party-Turkey (PDK-T). “Many people had told us that our application would not be accepted because of the word Kurdistan. But we have seen that our application has been approved," he told Rudaw.
The PDK-T was founded in Diyarbakir in Turkey’s southeastern region by 40 senior members. The leading party members visited the Turkish interior ministry for official approval, which they received last week after a three-month waiting period, Kardas explained.
The aim of the party is to create an independent state for Turkey’s estimated 15 million Kurds in the country’s southeastern Kurdish regions, with Diyarbakir as its capital, a flag and its own national anthem, “Ey Raqib.”
“We make no claim on anyone's land. We want an independent Kurdistan and will work for it under international law,” Kardas added.
Today, the world’s estimated 30 million Kurds are scattered over four countries: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. But the PDK-T says it will work to ensure that the Kurds are masters of their own house.
“Only independence can protect the Kurds, rather than Turkish, Arabic or Persian supremacy,” said Kardas.
Currently PDK-T gets no support from anyone. But Kardas stressed that he hoped the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) would support the new party in future.
“In addition, we believe that within two years we will reach out to the masses and get the support from them,” he said.
Other Kurdish parties in Turkey, like the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), officially stand for autonomy within Turkey, not independence.
Menaf Sirnexi, the PDK-T representative in the province of Sirnak, emphasized that the new party does not want enmity with existing Kurdish parties in Turkey.
“But autonomy is not enough to meet the Kurdish people's needs. We want our own independent state because the state is a protection against persecution and oppression,” Sirnexi told Rudaw.
“Independence is an aspiration in the heart of every Kurd,” he said, quoting a well-known phrase attributed to the late Iraqi-Kurdish leader, Mustafa Barzani.
The Kurdish question in Turkey has been very topical this month.
It was announced that the first Kurdish-language university will soon open in Turkey in Diyarbakir, where hospitals have begun to provide service in Kurdish.
Last week, Dicle University in Diyarbakir started launching a journal and website to help introduce Kurdish social sciences and international studies to the world. It was the first time in the history of Turkey that the Kurdish language officially entered the academic world.
Meanwhile, on April 12, Turkish authorities ordered a newly-established business association to remove the word “Kurdistan” from its name and all official records, arguing that the use of the word is unconstitutional.
With the same explanation, the Turkish interior ministry earlier this year rejected a request by a group of Kurdish students to establish the Kurdistan Youth Movement.