Hatip Dicle

Mehmet Hatip Dicle (born 1955, Diyarbakir, Turkey), is a Turkish politician, of Kurdish origin, of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).[1]

Hatip Dicle
Hatip Dicle (cropped).jpg
Hatip Dicle
Member of the Grand National Assembly
In office
1991 – 2 March 1994
Chairman of the Democracy Party
In office
13 December 1993 – March 1994
Chairman of the Democratic Society Congress
In office
Personal details
Political partyPeople's Labor Party, Democracy Party

Early life and educationEdit

Dicle grew up in a family with Islamic values. He attended the Ziya Gökalp high school in Diyarbakir and enrolled into civil engineering department of the Istanbul Technical University from which he graduated in 1979.[1] He began his political activity in the 1970s, involving himself in the Revolutionary Cultural Eastern Hearths (DDKO) and joining the People's Labor Party (HEP) (Halkin Emek Partisi, working party of the people). In the late 1980s he travelled to Palestine where he joined the Fatah and received military training.[1]

Political careerEdit

In 1991 he was elected to the parliament within a political alliance of the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and the HEP.[1][2] In 1993, the HEP was banned. In anticipation of the ban, the Kurdish politicians had already set up the Democracy Party (Demokrasi Partisi, or DEP). On 12 December 1993, Dicle was elected party chairman,[1] which he stayed until March 1994.[3] As a chairman, he guided the DEP through violent times as DEP politicians and members were detained and its candidates homes where raided by the Turkish authorities ahead of the Municipal elections of 1994. As a consequence, he announced in February 1994 that the party would not run in the elections due to an "anti-democratic environment".[4]


On 2 March 1994, Parliament lifted the immunity of Dicle and he was arrested.[5] On 8 August 1994 he was convicted, together with Leyla Zana, Orhan Doğan and Selim Sadak of membership in an organization (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and sentenced to 15 years in prison.[5] In June 1994 also the Democracy Party was banned.[3]

On 9 June 2004, the 3 prisoners were released after a retrial and pressure from the European Union, but Dicle was still banned from political activity.

He was sentenced to 20 months in prison for a statement that he made to the ANKA agency in 2007 about the Kurdish question. This was interpreted by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court as siding with terrorism, although other commentators have pointed out that the statement was advocating a peaceful solution and that the sentence is evidence of Turkey's curbs on freedom of expression.[6]

He was one of the first Co-Chairs of the Democratic Society Congress after its foundation in 2007 until 2010.[7]

Dicle was again arrested in December 2009 as part of the KCK investigation.[1]

2011 electionEdit

In the June 2011 parliamentary elections he ran as an independent candidate for the Diyarbakir Province,[8] supported by the Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block[9] and was elected with 78.220 votes.[8] However, after the election, Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) annulled his election, because of his former conviction on a terrorist charge.[10][11] His fellow MPs reacted by boycotting the Parliament.[12] He was replaced in the Turkish Parliament by a member of the AK Party, Oya Eronat, who had come sixth in the election, with a much smaller vote.[13][14]

Rıza Türmen, former Turkish Ambassador to the Council of Europe and judge at the European Court of Human Rights, condemned the decision as "not only against universal laws, it also violates national regulation and norms". He called for Articles 7 and 76 of the Turkish Constitution to be amended to prevent such situations arising in future.[15][16] His case was also taken up by British MPs who lodged an early day motion in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.[17]

In 2014 he was released from prison[1] and elected as Co-Chair of the Democratic Society Congress. He was succeeded in 2017 by Berdan Öztürk.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Akça, İsmet; Alp Özden, Barış (eds.). "Who's who in politics in Turkey" (PDF). Heinrich Böll Stiftung. pp. 119–120. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  2. ^ Şafak, Yeni (2019-12-12). "Diyarbakır Seçim Sonuçları 1991 - Genel Seçim 1991". Yeni Şafak (in Turkish). Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  3. ^ a b Europe, United States Congress Commission on Security and Cooperation in (1994). Banned Turkish Parliamentarians Discuss State of Democracy in Turkey: Briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The Commission. p. 2.
  4. ^ Watts, Nicole F. (2010). Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-99050-7.
  5. ^ a b Gunes, Cengiz (2013-01-11). The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance. Routledge. pp. 163–164. ISBN 9781136587986.
  6. ^ "A Turkish story: Hatip Dicle case". Global Rights. 2011-06-27. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  7. ^ a b "English – DEMOKRATİK TOPLUM KONGRESİ" (in Turkish). Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  8. ^ a b "DİYARBAKIR 2011 GENEL SEÇİM SONUÇLARI". secim.haberler.com. Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  9. ^ "Independent Deputies Stay in Prison". Bianet. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2020.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Turkey's Kurds must push for a democratic answer". The Guardian. 2011-08-31. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  11. ^ "Turkey's YSK cancels Dicle's parliament membership". Cumhuriyet. 2011-06-22. Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  12. ^ "BDP vows to support Hatip Dicle until the end". Hürriyet Daily News. 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  13. ^ "In Turkey, Lawmakers Refuse Oath in Protest". New York Times. 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  14. ^ "Tragic story emerges as AKP candidate to replace banned BDP nominee". Hürriyet Daily News. 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  15. ^ "77,669 votes cast for Dicle". Hürriyet Daily News. 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  16. ^ "Ruling party calls BDP to Parliament to solve Dicle quagmire". Hürriyet Daily News. 2011-06-23. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  17. ^ "HATIP DICLE AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT". House of Commons. 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2011-10-14.