Meral Akşener, leader of the opposition Iyi Party in Turkey, targeted a man a full six days after he told her that ‘the reality of Kurdistan is denied in the Turkish parliament’.
Akşener had a casual friendly chat in the Kurdish-majority city of Siirt (Sêrt) on 28 October with a shop owner who complained to her that their language, identity and Kurdistan was being denied. While Akşener did not react in a negative manner to the shop owner on the spot, the man was however detained the next morning by the Turkish police over an allegation of ‘making propaganda for the organisation’.
In a speech at her parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday, Akşener this time said the word ‘Kurdistan’ was part of the discourse of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist organisation by the Turkish state.
“An HDP activist came to a shop we were visiting and said we were in Kurdistan,” said Akşener.
“The interior minister and the officials of the administration’s small partner immediately started crying out, pretending they were shocked. How could he have used the term ‘Kurdistan’, they asked. Why are you surprised, most venerable sirs? Tell me, why are you surprised? This person is an activist of the People’s Democratic Party. What have we been saying for months now? (…) We position this party beside the PKK.”
Akşener then said it out loud that the word Kurdistan was a word exclusively used only by the PKK.
“Whose discourse is Kurdistan? It is the discourse of the terror organisation. So there’s nothing surprising about this for us. But do you know what is actually pathetic? The partners in the People’s Alliance have been bringing forth the PKK’s agenda to Turkey’s attention in their attempts to target us. Everybody is mentioning Kurdistan since last Friday. While the agenda of the Kurd in Siirt is poverty and unemployment, and while these were the issues they should be talking about, they talk about issues which are on Apo’s agenda.”
The ‘Apo’ Akşener’s refers to is a term referring to Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK
Iyi Party was founded in 2017 by a group that broke away from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a defender and agitator of Turkish nationalism on a racist level.