During a visit the Good Party leader Meral Akşener paid to his shop in Siirt (Sêrt) in Turkey, the shopkeeper Cemil Taşkesen told her in a critical tone of voice that the language, the identity and the reality of Kurdistan were being denied by the Turkish parliament, and said with emphasis, “This is Kurdistan”. Soon afterwards, Taşkesen was detained, and on Wednesday, Akşener said in a parliamentary group meeting that the word “Kurdistan” was “the discourse of the terror organisation”.
People in the streets of Diyarbakır (Amed) reacted forcefully to Akşener’s remarks.
Mesopotamia News Agency held interviews with members of the public in the streets of Diyarbakır, asking what they thought of the reactions to the use of the word ‘Kurdistan’.
“We are in Turkey, but this is Kurdistan, no matter who denies it,” said one. “When politicians come here, they say it is Kurdistan. After they leave, they say there is no such place as Kurdistan. Diyarbakir is Kurdistan. For us, the East is Kurdistan, no matter what they say.”
“These days, the government detains people and subjects them to penalties for even the slightest criticism,” another said. “Using the word Kurdistan is not a crime. It’s freedom of expression. This is Mesopotamia. It’s a region mainly populated by Kurds. As Kurdish people, we want to speak our own language. We want our autonomy and our independence. But we are accused of being terrorists when we say ‘Kurdistan’.”
Another drew attention to the Meral Akşener’s political past, recalling that she served as interior minister in yet another dark period for the Kurds:
“We know Merak Akşener from 1990s when she served as the interior minister; a time of unsolved political murders. She’s no different from the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party), Bahçeli or Erdoğan… Isn’t what Erdoğan has been doing for the last 20 years just the same? Actually they’ve been practising the same policies for 80 years. It’s only the Kurds and nothing else. Not hunger, not unemployment, according to them the only problem is the Kurds and Kurdistan.”