Kurds are seeking their rightful place within the democratic framework and the real security threat to Turkey is posed by certain racist and nationalist elements, Tuncer Bakırhan, co-chair of the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party, said at the party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.
Bakırhan described what he called “persistent attempts by certain factions to suppress different identities and beliefs” as divisive and unjustified, and reiterated his party’s commitment to resist any attempts to undermine their identity, particularly as Kurds. He clarified that while they do not identify as Turks, they have no animosity towards the Turkish or other communities in the country. According to Bakırhan, Kurds aspire to equal rights with Fars, Arabs and Turks in the region and are actively working for such equality.
In response to President Recep Tayip Erdoğan’s recent remarks stressing the importance of preserving the mother tongue as a defence against assimilation, Bakırhan questioned whether this sentiment would extend to the Kurdish community.
Erdoğan’s comments over the weekend were met with derision on Kurdish social media, with critics pointing to perceived contradictions in Erdoğan’s stance at home and abroad, and accusing the Turkish government of promoting domestic policies that suppress the Kurdish language.
“Kurdish is the right of Kurds, and ignoring the rights of Kurds contradicts these statements,” Bakırhan said.
He went on to issue a call to the government, urging it to focus on social peace within Turkey as a means of dealing with the conflicts and tensions that are prevalent in the region.