Destinations Magazine

Turkey’s South-east: Huda-Par’s Emergence

By Stizzard
Turkey’s south-east: Huda-Par’s emergence

IN A shiny office in the heart of Batman (see map), a group of men refuses to shake hands with female visitors, offering rosewater instead. They belong to Huda-Par, or “Party of Allah”, which was launched in December on a platform of Islamic values and greater rights for Turkey’s 14m mainly Sunni Kurds. Do they want sharia rule? Huseyin Yilmaz, Huda-Par’s deputy chairman, strokes his immaculately trimmed beard before responding. “We are Muslims before all else, but we will take note of the people’s wishes,” he says. “And the people will no doubt cleave to Allah’s path.”Huda-Par’s emergence might have been seen as part of the newly liberal atmosphere in the country’s war-wrecked, mainly Kurdish, south-eastern provinces. Instead, it has prompted worries of a fresh turf war between Islamist and nationalist Kurds. This risks undermining the ambitious (albeit bumpy) peace talks between the government in Ankara and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Many say the intra-Kurdish rivalry goes beyond a local quarrel and reflects tensions between Turkey and Iran. These, despite a recent flurry of official visits, continue to…

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