Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has called on Turkey’s opposition to object to Ankara’s planned offensive into Syria.
In a piece he penned for Medyascope, Demirtaş, who has been imprisoned since 4 Nov 2016 on charges relating to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said that such an incursion would benefit the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), rather than the people and the country.
“That’s why all those who think about the people and defend democracy should bravely raise their voices against war,” said Demirtaş, who is being kept behind bars despite the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) repeated release rulings.
Demirtaş’ remarks came after Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, signaled that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) could start a new military operation in Syria soon.
According to Demirtaş, the AKP-MHP government aims to extend the occupation of Syria’s Kurdish regions in order to prevent its downfall by creating a new chauvinist and nationalist discourse that focuses on the country’s survival. Pro-government pundits will then denounce everyone who opposes this offensive, by calling them “terrorists.”
“Some opposition leaders voiced their doubts about the offensive. I guess many people are aware of this bloody plot. We’ll see who won’t fall for it,” he said.
Using a phrase that’s widely believed to have been voiced by Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Demirtaş said, “If it’s not absolutely necessary, war is murder.”
“Turkey has the right to defend itself if it faces a significant attack and a real threat and if all means of diplomacy are exhausted. However, this is not the case in the Syria issue. The AKP government continues its war in Syria not to defend Turkey but instead to intervene in the will of the people of Syria, mainly the Kurds,” the prominent politician said, noting that the AKP has a major responsibility in the escalation of the war in Syria.
Demirtaş noted that the planned offensive would be a part of the AKP’s effort to win the next elections scheduled to be held in 2023 instead of defending the country. He also said that supporting this “bloody plot” would mean making a historic mistake in addition to becoming complicit in the crime.
The former HDP co-chair commented on the economic burden of the war, saying that the people will become poorer while those in power and their supporters remain unaffected.
“No one can send the poor people of Anatolia to the frontline to be used for election propaganda. No to war and occupation!” Demirtaş said.