Veteran Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk was heard at the court session of the ‘Kobane Case’ on Monday in the Turkish capital Ankara, Mezopotamya News Agency reported.
“We could not have kept silent in the face of ISIS’s savagery,” Türk said, in reference to the protest demonstrations in 2014 that were held in solidarity with the Northern Syrian city of Kobane which was then under the siege of the Islamic State (ISIS).
Türk, the discharged mayor of Mardin and former MP, and many other senior officials of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), have been facing court over an indictment which alleges that they instigated violence during the Kobane demonstrations that resulted in multiple deaths.
The former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, incarcerated since November 2016, are among the 108 political figures who were indicted.
Türk also made remarks on the political and judicial pressures Kurdish politicians have been facing for over 40 years.
Noting that their immunities were similarly lifted back in 1990s, and that the Turkish chief of general staff at the time had said, “You will either kick these out of the parliament or they’ll be killed like dogs on the street,” he went on to say:
“Nothing has changed today. They tried to force us out of democratic politics through oppressive measures again. We’ve kept on struggling, though, for we believe that the Kurdish question can be resolved democratically. Trustees were appointed in our places after we were elected as mayors. And today we are facing court in the unjust Kobane case.”
“We could not have kept silent in the face of the savagery of ISIS gangs (…) We took all efforts and cried out to the world, demanding that ISIS gangs should not be overlooked, and democracy and human rights should be supported. ISIS gangs destroyed and set cities on fire, abducted people. We were the ones who stepped up and tried to show this savagery to the world.”
“Many politicians and the media have been continuously saying that HDP provoked the people. Who have we provoked? I was the mayor then. I made an address and called on everyone not to keep silent in the face of the savagery of ISIS (…) The accusations are politically motivated and were made in accordance with instructions from high levels of the political administration.”