Selahattin Demirtaş*, the imprisoned former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) replied to the questions of some young journalists on a number of issues ranging from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to a recent declaration by an opposition bloc on ‘transition to enhanced parliamentary system’.
Below is Demirtaş’s reply to a question by journalist Ahmet Ayva, who asked: “As a full-scale war has begun between Russia and Ukraine, and it is likely to have impacts on Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the rest of the world, what’s your assessment on the statements made by the [Turkish] political administration?”
Before everything else, it’s important, by principle, to stand against war and cry for peace as loudly as possible. It’s only ethical to oppose invasions in respect for the will of the people. Still, war, a painful, destructive part of human reality for thousands of years, continues to exist as an instrument of politics. War in the global capitalist-imperialist system is also one of the means of implementing brutal strategies to shape markets and in dealing with crisis.
The ‘Western’ world today perceives the capitalist system of China and Russia, which it refers to as ‘the East’, as a threat, and is trying to restrict its growth through various means. The ‘threat’ was earlier communism, and it’s now ‘authoritarianism’. It’s been clearly expressed for some time now that we’ll be in the process of a transition, during the presidency of Biden in the United States, to a two-polar world, a world of ‘democrats’ and ‘authoritarians’. An international democracy conference was recently organised in the US, and it was strongly implied that the uninvited states were categorically the authoritarians.
China, Russia and Turkey were among the uninvited. The US and the EU tend to act in coordination with the ‘democratic’ countries as they reshape NATO, turning it into an entity more than just a military one in an attempt to restrict the growth of the Eastern capitalism particularly in the economic sphere. Russia and China have been aware for a long time that they are the targets, and they have been trying to find new breathing channels. Their economic activities have substantially increased globally and particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The control that these two major military powers have over a significant part of global energy sources as well as over human labour, and the level of their capitalist power beginning to gain on the Western capitalism in economic terms, started forcing the West to act in unison and to take measures to limit the expansion of the East.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the first big move at the very core of Europe in this great game of chess, played out on a global scale. It’s the first move in a series of demonstrations of power that will end up in essential changes. The pain and suffering, on the other hand, fall in full-scale on the oppressed. We are supposed to view this game of war through the perspective of oppressed people and the exploited. We ought to say that another world is possible as an alternative to capitalism and imperialism, and be engaged in efforts to make more visible the Left perspective that is based on radical democracy, civil rights, labour rights, rights of different social identities and beliefs, and women’s equality.
In an attempt to deal with the crisis it faces domestically and on an international scale, the administration of AKP [Justice and Development Party] and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] is pursuing a pragmatist and unprincipled policy aimed at enjoying the spoils of the war.
We, on the contrary, should focus on going through this process unharmed and should seek victory by defending peace, by making the objective of a democratic administration a true alternative, by supporting the resistance of labourers and uniting this resistance with the dynamic freedom struggle of the Kurdish people.
* Former co-chairs of HDP, Selehattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, have been incarcerated since November 2016, when their parliamentary immunities were lifted and they were arrested. Demirtaş is kept in jail despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that he’s incarcerated for political reason and should be immediately released.