Controversial Statue of PKK Founder to be Demolished

n_70591_1A Diyarbakır court has ruled for the demolition of a statue of Mahsum Korkmaz, one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was erected in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Aug. 16.

The statue was opened on the anniversary of the first attacks by PKK militants in the Hakkari’s Şemdinli district and Siirt’s Eruh district in 1984, in a cemetery that was opened last year in the Lice district for PKK members.

The court ruling comes one day after the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office filed a legal complaint on Aug. 17. The Governor’s Office also demanded an investigation of “those responsible for the statue.”

Speaking at a press conference in the southern province of Alanya on Aug. 17, Oktay Vuray, the deputy parliamentary group chair of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), questioned how such a statue could be erected.

“The statues of Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk are taken down and his words are being removed,” Vural said, in reference to the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. “Now, the statue of a terrorist is erected.”

A group of relatives of soldiers killed in the fight against the PKK similarly reacted against the statue, while MHP leader Develt Bahçeli also condemned it, saying Prime Minister and President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was responsible for an “ugly attack.” Bahçeli said all votes cast for Erdoğan in the Aug. 10 presidential election “went to the PKK.”

Korkmaz was killed by security forces in 1986. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır lawmaker Nursel Aydoğan and the co-chairs of the Party of Democratic Regions (DBP), Emine Ayna and Kamuran Yüksek, attended the statue’s opening ceremony on Aug. 16.