The Turkish opposition’s silence on recent police operations targeting Kurdish politicians, journalists and lawyers only serves the interests of the Turkish government, said Kurdish politician Meral Danış Beştaş on Saturday.
“An operation this scale carried out a short time before elections is a direct intervention to the elections,” Danış Beştaş, the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) parliamentary group, told Evrensel daily about this week’s mass arrests.
The Turkish prosecutors have arrested 48 people over alleged terror links out of 144 detained on Tuesday in police operations carried out in 21 provinces, while five people remain under custody and 91 have been released. Tuesday’s operation targeted Kurdish politicians, journalists, lawyers as well as members of civil society organisations.
As reactions to Tuesday’s detentions grew, the Turkish police launched a new operation on Saturday in 15 provinces, arresting two Kurdish journalists.
“The government is using every method to intervene in the elections but usually such attempts are unfortunately not very visible. Apart from the opposition media like you, such incidents are not reported. On the contrary, they are used as a tool for negative propaganda. As a matter of fact, this should have been on the top of Turkey’s agenda,” Danış Beştaş said.
“Let me just say that you still don’t become wiser,” the politician said, when asked to comment about the silence of the six party Nation Alliance on the operations, despite the HDP’s support for their presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
“It means not being able to diagnose what the government is aiming for and which way it is going. There is something I always say, you should be sure that whatever the pressure, intervention, persecution, detentions or any other similar things used against Kurds is an issue for all Turkey and impacts the whole country. The ‘this does not interest us’ attitude has brought us to that point. Because this attitude weakens the ties between the Kurdish society and the other groups in Turkey and eliminates empathy,” Danış Beştaş said.
“The government is the only one that benefits from this apathy, this indifference. Whereas everybody who supports a change in government and supports democratisation should stand against this operation,” the politician added.
The politician also commented on the opposition party’s unethical approach towards Kurds.
“Of course, it is legitimate to ask for support from the Kurds. It is legitimate to shout at the top of one’s voice saying ‘I will get MPs elected from Kurdish provinces’, but, to put it mildly, expressing the injustices Kurdish people suffer, their problems are not preferred. Then you will be asked, why should the Kurds support you,” Danış Beştaş said.
The politician is currently still trying to heal in bed following a traffic accident earlier this month which left her lower back fractured. Danış Beştaş told Evrensel that in her sickbed she has been receiving thousands of calls protesting the opposition’s apathy.
When reminded about a recent video of Kılıçdaroğlu in which he expressed his views about the government’s attitude towards Kurdish voters and called for an initiative to be launched at the parliament on the Kurdish question after the elections, Danış Beştaş said Kılıçdaroğlu’s silence on recent operations indicated a serious contradiction in attitude.
“Where we stand is very clear, and I will not talk about the details, but all oppositional powers should know that you cannot offer anything to the people in this country by following the path of the government,” Danış Beştaş said. “The points where the rhetoric of the government and the opposition overlaps will make all of us lose,” she added.