Ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia since 2014 escalated into war, with Russia attacking Donbas on February 24.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), from February 24 when Russia launched an offensive to midnight on March 7, a total of 474 civilians were killed and 861 wounded. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bacheletise said that about 12,700 people were arbitrarily detained in Russia for protesting the war.
According to European Union data, 1.5 million people have emigrated from Ukraine and another 5 million people are expected to leave the country.
As the war enters its 21st day, negotiator Oleksiy Arestovic (senior adviser of Ukraine President Volodimir Zelenski), said that “peace with Russia can be achieved by May at the latest- or in 1 or 2 weeks at the earliest”.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chairperson Meral Danış Beştaş spoke to Media Üren from Jinnews on the war policies of the states, especially the Ukraine-Russia war.
“While NATO’s sovereign mentality and hegemonial expansion are among the reasons for war, the fact that Russia has declared war on a country is unacceptable. All around the world peacemakers and democracy supporters have reacted to Russia’s invasion. We are pleased to see that the biggest reaction has come from inside Russia. We see how hundreds of thousands of people who oppose this war are protesting in the squares, on the streets.”
Noting that there is a huge wave of migration from Ukraine, Beştaş said millions of people have left Kiev and its surroundings. She also criticised the European countries for being discriminatory regarding refugees.
“The whole of Europe has welcomed refugees from Ukraine. However, we see that the same door was not open to people who had to emigrate from the ongoing war in Syria. On the contrary, very unethical negotiations were made with Turkey. Important negotiations were made with Turkey to hold back these asylum seekers from going to Europe, and all these negotiations were done on camera. This has shown once again that people are not treated as equal citizens of the world.”
Problems should be solved through dialogue
HDP Group Deputy Chairperson Meral Danış Beştaş also pointed to the “peace” agenda. She recalled Turkey’s invasion of the Afrin (Efrîn) in northern Syria and how at that point anyone who was opposing that war or calling for peace was targeted in Turkey.
” Defending peace was a crime back then; think of Peace Academics, the Kurdish people and those who favour democracy. Many trials were launched against them. But those who said it was a crime to defend peace are today acting like apostles of peace.”
“The important thing is to be able to say ‘no’ when the war is next to you. As HDP, we have always been against the war in Kurdistan. We are a party that conducts peace-based politics not only in Kurdistan and Turkey, but all over the world, and today in Ukraine we again call for the problems to be solved through dialogue and negotiation.”
“The economic effects of the war are very bad, it will affect the whole world, especially Turkey,” Beştaş said.
“Russia ranks almost first in agricultural products so those who import products from Russia will struggle. Turkey is the most affected country regarding natural gas. The value of the ruble and the dollar has now fallen by the same amount. We are talking about a war that will affect both the Middle East, Turkey, and the world. We do not accept military operation, attacks, or war, and we stand against expansionist policies. We argue that Russia and Ukraine should be in dialogue and solve the problem on the table. But we are different from the other parties, we are not only against the Ukraine-Russia war, but we also criticise Turkey’s expansionist policy in cross-border operations.”