It is a grave matter that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has become a centre of political killings, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said in a written statement on Tuesday.
“While the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government and the forces it leads aim to turn the Kurdistan Region into the most insecure region for Kurds who want to live freely, the forces that allow this to happen are partners in these crimes and are a source of this shame,” the statement reads.
The HDP’s statement comes after Hüseyin Türeli, a Kurdish citizen of Turkey who migrated to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq because he was being prosecuted for political offences in Turkey, was killed in an armed attack in Duhok on Monday evening.
The HDP recalled the murders of Kurdish people such as Nagihan Akarsel, Yasin Bulut and Mehmet Zeki Çelebi who were similarly recently killed in Iraqi Kurdistan, and condemned the killings, accusing to the current Turkish government.
“Whatever the fate of the actors of the 1990s who wanted to prolong their lives [in power] by means of massacres and murders, who left Kurds no choice but death, the fate of those who use the same methods today will be no different,” said the HDP, and called on democratic society in Turkey to take a clear stance against these murders.
The Turkish media reported that there was an arrest warrant out for Türeli, who was originally from the Kurdish-majority province of Batman, in connection with a 2008 explosion in the Güngören district of Istanbul, in which 18 people lost their lives. However, Türeli’s lawyer had previously stated that his client had not been involved in the bombing.
Turkey blames the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the Güngören explosion, however, no organisation claimed responsibility for the incident. A senior member of the PKK denied the accusations at the time and said: “The Kurdish liberation movement is not involved in this attack.” Initial local reports in the immediate aftermath of the explosion pointed to the possibility of a gas leak.
The Turkish National Intelligence Agency is believed by many in Iraqi Kurdistan to have organised the assassinations of Kurdish political activists in the area since 2021.
Nagihan Akarsel, a Kurdish feminist academic and founding member of the Sulaymaniyah-based Jineolojî Academy, was fatally shot outside her home in Sulaymaniyah in October 2022.
Kurdish political activist Yasin Bulut was assassinated in Sulaymaniyah in September 2021, a day after Ferhat Barış Kondu, a political refugee and Kurdish political activist, was shot and wounded by masked assailants in his office in Sulaymaniyah.
Mehmet Zeki Çelebi, a Kurdish activist who moved to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq from his home in Turkey to avoid persecution, was assassinated in May 2022.