ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—The co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demiraş, has said an “ethnic civil war” could break out in Turkey as divisions between Kurds and Turks were growing in the country. Demirtaş also linked peace in Turkey to peace in Syria, saying that without the former the latter was not possible.
“The war in Syria is tied to the conflict here because the Turkish government sees Kurds in Turkey and in Syria as one,” Demirtaş told The Irish Times on June 11, referring to the security operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey’s southeast.
“It is impossible to have peace in Syria without peace in southeast Turkey,” he added.
Saying that the Turkish and Kurdish societies were growing apart due to the “war,” Demirtaş added that for the sake of peace, he would be willing to meet and shake hands with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I am in politics because of peace so if sitting down face to face with Erdoğan would lead to peace, then sure,” he said.
Criticizing European leaders, Demirtaş stressed that more should be done to end the violence in southeast Turkey.
“But the only ones to speak up are the opposition parties in Europe – the governments of Europe need a good deal with Erdoğan because of the refugee crisis; that’s a huge mistake,” he said.
Demirtaş also mentioned the humanitarian situation in Turkey’s southeast, saying that urgent humanitarian aid was needed in the region.
“More than 500,000 Kurds have left their homes because of the clashes and thousands of people have no shelter, no place to live; only tents. There are more than 10 residential areas now completely destroyed; they need humanitarian aid urgently,” he added.
Speaking about Tuğba Hezer, a HDP deputy who offered her condolences in person to the family of a suicide bomber responsible for an attack in Ankara in February, Demirtaş said that she was wrong.
“She was wrong. She is our youngest member of parliament and our youngest member. She visited the family because she knew them – they had voted for her and she wanted to support them,” he also said.