ISTANBUL (Agos)—Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, and HDP Armenian parliament member from Istanbul Garo Paylan, have both condemned the recent sharp increase in violence in Turkey and the targeting of the HDP by government-backed ultranationalist groups.
The ongoing attacks against the HDP, its offices and Kurdish civilians in various cities have rapidly increased in the last week. On Tuesday, September 8, HDP party buildings across Turkey were burned. The HDP’s headquarters in Ankara were also attacked. According to the HDP, over 400 Kurdish offices and businesses were attacked in just two days.
“Burning the headquarters of a political party amounts to burning the ideals of that party,” Paylan said regarding the attack on the HDP’s headquarters in Ankara.
The HDP took to Twitter to say: “Our headquarters are under attack and police force doesn’t perform its duty.”
Paylan spoke to Agos newspaper in Istanbul regarding the attack.
“In the evening, the police took some precautions at the entrance. Around 19.30, a racist group began to gather in front of the entrance. The police connived at the attack, and they began to smash things up. And finally, they tried to burn the building. This is a major provocation. They burned our ideal to live together. This might be the beginning of a major break. These attacks were performed in order to pave the way for other uprisings; they will trigger other uprisings,” Paylan said.
“Burning the headquarters of a political party amounts to burning the ideals of that party. They wanted to burn our ideal to live together and this will lead to various consequences. These provocations indicate that the coup dynamics are operating now. Party members tell us that, in many events, the police and MİT agents perform these attacks acting like they are MHP supporters,” Paylan continued.
HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas held a press conference at the party’s Diyarbakir building following the attack on his party’s headquarters.
Speaking before heading to Cizre with the HDP Committee, Demirtas evaluated the attacks, pointing out that the attackers are “paid and official mobs,” and that they will pay the price before justice.
Stating that the attacks are planned and organized by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in collaboration with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Demirtas said: “Shame on the ones who participate in these lynching campaigns with the support of the government; don’t let them use you. There is no government support, because AKP has fallen; they will use you and then throw you away.”
Demirtas started the conference by saying, “We want to share our thoughts regarding the lynchings that happened in last 48 hours that are carried by the state as a part of the government’s program,” and continued as follows:
The process that we are going through doesn’t stem from some simple coincidences. We are going through an unsteady time that can cause major breaks and lead to important political problems in Middle East and in Turkey.
The result of the election is not just an arithmetical change in the parliament; it has a further meaning. Thus, it is a great loss that the conflicts began once again and our country turned into a blood bath as the result of state’s decision on picking a war during such a chaotic period.
From the beginning, we, as HDP, feel for all the sufferings without looking at the uniforms or ethnicities of the ones who were killed; we don’t care about who killed who. We labor over constituting peace with the purpose of ending all the suffering. Unfortunately, we haven’t achieved any result yet. I am saying this honestly: we haven’t take part in the picking and growing of this war or in the decision-making processes of the operations and actions; we neither approved nor supported any of this. Fortunately, HDP bears no responsibility for this bloodshed. The ones who made this political decision are the president and the prime minister. Nevertheless, we consider ourselves responsible as the opposition party for the lost lives and we make great effort to make it stop. First and above all, we are human, not MPs. No seat is permanent; humanity is the one that is permanent.
HDP is founded in order to make the internal peace stronger and guarantee the co-existence and freedom. Because of that, our party gave hope to people and succeeded on June 7. During the period before the election, our party was attacked in 176 places, even though we spoke out for peace and the ceasefire was continuing. I am addressing the ones who are ravaging our buildings everywhere in last two days and saying that they are doing this because of terrorism: We already bore witness to your viciousness before June 7. And despite that, we were to ones who spoke out for peace. What they have been doing for two days is not a reaction to terrorism and violence; it’s a decision that was made by Erdogan and Davutoglu with the support of AKP for starting a civil war, since they understood that the war on the mountains haven’t brought more vote to them. They are rehearsing for a civil war for two days. Racist groups create a fascist atmosphere on the streets and ravage everything related to Kurds; they try to bring opposing groups to their knees.
Don’t you think that these people hit the streets on their own motion. Everyone has the right to protest, we respect that, but here, I am not talking about people who hit the streets to protest. These people are the hit-men who are organized by AKP and MİT. They are paid mobs who are officially assigned to perform these acts; their identities are known.
There were over 400 attacks in two days. They attacked everything they can; workplaces, buses, seasonal workers, newspaper offices, residences, party buildings… An organized lynching campaign against certain places that is ordered from a single source was carried by the state. They want to convey this message: If you don’t give us 400 MPs, we will make you sorry for that.
I am saying this clearly, we have the footage that shows the ravagers. The crimes you committed will be prescribed 20 years later. You will pay the price within 20 years. Shame on the ones who participate in this lynching campaign with the support of the government; don’t let them use you. There is no government support, because AKP is fallen; they will use you and then throw you away. But if you say that you want to sacrifice yourselves for AKP, it’s your choice.
For days, Erdogan and Davutoglu point our party as the target. I believe that there are prosecutors and judges that maintain their dignity despite the oppressions. I am making a call to them: demand evidence from the president and the prime minister; if they have evidence of course… We don’t let them vindicate themselves by putting the blame on us, while they are the ones who are sliding the country into war.
The conscientious people of Turkey, you should see that something is not right in these events. It is time to show whether we are sisters and brother or not. What do the people from west think about all these ravaging? We want to learn that. It is easy to just talk.
Last night, our headquarters were occupied and ravaged accompanied by the police force; they burned our archive room where the preparations for election is carried. Just one room of our building with 70 rooms was burned. We informed the mayor, but he hasn’t done anything for hours. At last, I had to call him and I understood that he has a hand in this. He talked to me in a shameless manner and hung up. The mayor of Ankara was also instructed to turn a blind eye. I am addressing to this particular officer: There is no power that you can lean on, don’t make any mistake by trusting AKP. You will pay the price before justice.
Here is our message to all people: It seems that they will continue to act like that. I am kindly asking you not to let yourself be provoked. According to the Turkish penal code, you have the right of self-defense. We will repair all of our buildings that were ravaged and continue to work. What you have burned is not our buildings; it is your common future.
Today, we will go to Cizre with our committee. Our only demand is to lift the curfew. Since the declaration of the curfew, Cizre turned into a city of violation of rights where many people had died. Though we have been pressing for six days, they haven’t lifted the curfew. People cannot hold funerals. Do you think that people from Cizre will regret and vote for AKP on November 1? We won’t change, we will only get stronger.
A journalist asked Demirtas why he hasn’t received any responses to his call for a ceasefire. Demirtas answered: “I received two responses to my call for laying down the arms; the president said that the arms won’t be laid down and KCK [Group of Communities in Kurdistan] said that they are ready for a reciprocal ceasefire.”