Hundreds of people gathered in Şırnak’s (Şirnex) Silopi (Silopya) district in Turkey on Saturday to protest the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) recent attacks on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas in the Sidekan (Sîdekan) region of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The protest was organised by the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) in response to intense clashes that occurred on Thursday between the KDP’s Peshmerga forces and PKK guerrillas.
Upon entering the district, attendees underwent identity checks. The crowd, holding a banner that read “We do not accept betrayal, we will protect our achievements” (“Em xiyanetê qebûl nakin, Em ê destkeftiyên xwe biparêzin” in Kurdish), marched towards the Habur Border Gate. They chanted “Death to betrayal” (“Bimre îxanet”). Shortly after, Turkish security forces attacked the group using plastic bullets, tear gas and water cannons. Several people were injured, including DBP Co-Chair Keskin Bayındır, who was taken to Silopi State Hospital.
During the protest, a military officer threatened and attempted to punch DBP Co-Chair Saliha Aydeniz, leading to a verbal altercation between Aydeniz and the soldiers. The soldiers also targeted parliamentary advisors.
Saliha Aydeniz addressed the crowd, stating, “These attacks and partnership [between the Turkish government and the KDP] are not for the future of Kurdistan; they are solely for the interests of the Barzani family.” She added, “If Kurdish gains are to be protected, the interests of Kurdistan must be prioritised and protected.”
The DBP co-chair continued, “The [Turkish] state’s approach to Kurdish gains was once again revealed today. But the people did not back down. The reason for the state’s attack today was to prevent our reaction against the KDP.” She also warned the KDP, stating, “The position displayed by the Turkish state in the independence referendum, in Efrîn (Afrin) and in Serekaniyê (Ras al-Ayn) should not be forgotten.”
Aydeniz also addressed Mesut Barzani directly, stating, “We call upon Mesut Barzani to fulfil his role and mission. He used to say they didn’t want ‘brakuji’ (fratricide). The current situation is indeed not a matter of ‘brakuji’; this is a unilateral aggression by the KDP.”