Meral Danış Beştaş, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) MP for Siirt (Sêrt), spoke to the Hawar News Agency about the Turkish state’s increasing oppression of the HDP, especially after legal attempts to ban the party.
Beştaş argued that there is an attempt to push the party out of politics, using various methods. She added that the indictment to the prosecutor’s office on the closure of the party was initially rejected because it did not contain evidence of a crime.
Beştaş also noted that the HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s arrest was unacceptable and called on all democratic forces to increase the struggle against the attacks on the HDP and its elected parliamentarians.
Recently, the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) attacks on the HDP have intensified. What is the purpose of these attacks?
There has been a systematic attack by the government against the HDP for a long time. The demolition plan, which started before the 7 June process and continued after the disrupted solution process, is still active. Attacks have different motives. Attacks against our party, our co-chairs or the people are carried out with a political mindset. These attacks have nothing to do with the law, crime and criminal acts.
These attacks have increased more recently. If there is no early election, there will be a normal election in 2023. The government continues its preparations for these elections. Their only goal is to be able to maintain their power. AKP-MHP wants to maintain their oppressive and totalitarian regime. They are trying to push our party out of the arena of democratic politics. Our party has a decisive role in the elections, as it showed in the election results of 31 March, 24 June and 7 June. The government wants to use the so-called judiciary as a means of pressure instead of competing with us in elections and ballot boxes.
Do you think this attack has an international dimension?
I do not find the attitudes of the European member countries and the other states against these attacks sufficient. We are also continuing our diplomatic dialogues. We all participate in the meetings with our foreign relations commission. We share our views with them. While the AKP-MHP block attacks us, they also make different promises to the outside world; saying ”our direction is towards Europe”, but also triggering the tension with the US over the S-400s at the same time.
It is obvious that the world did not show the necessary stance toward the AKP-MHP due to their diplomatic relations, their international interests, trade relations and weapon deals for the redistribution or sharing the resources of the Middle East. Unfortunately, this is also reflected within domestic politics.
Germany’s last official statement was very arrogant and we find it unacceptable that they use language such as ”distance from illegal organisations and “terrorism”, which is the same discourse the AKP used against us. They try to criminalise our party, yet nobody has achieved this goal.
How do you evaluate the public’s attitude towards these attacks? Has there been a decrease or an increase in your vote?
There is great support and solidarity from the people. We observe in the field that our votes are increasing, support is growing and solidarity is increasing day by day. The latest example of this was that millions of people took to the fields in Newroz and supported the HDP despite all kinds of pressure, detention threats and obstacles.
One of the major goals of the government is to isolate us from the people. However, HDP voters are aware of everything. They know well the purpose of the oppression against our party. We see that we are getting stronger and growing even more in the surveys. In fact, the more they attack, the weaker they are; the more they attack, the more the HDP grows. The attacks against us do not weaken us. After all, we are the members, leaders and pioneers of a rightful and legitimate struggle.
In the closure case initiated against the HDP, the constitutional court returned the case file to the prosecutor’s office. How do you evaluate the relevant situation?
This was a purely political decision. The attempt to close our party was not on a legal basis after all. This indictment was prepared in a very short time and did not fit to the criteria of a properly prepared indictment. It was an indictment full of fake and unreal information prepared by a biased judiciary member. They sent this to the Constitutional Court, but the Court naturally rejected it.
The rulers saw the Newroz very clearly. The HDP will not take a step back in this regard, and we will continue our struggle.
HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s parliamentary status was stripped and then he was arrested. As a lawyer, what is the purpose of this arrest in terms of international law?
The case of our MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu is unlawful from the very beginning. It has absolutely no relation to the laws, it has nothing to do with the laws.
Once upon a time, he retweeted and shared a story before he was elected. This article he shared was about the demand for peace. This Twitter post is within the scope of freedom of thought and expression. Instead of closing the case file, it was sent to the Supreme Court and it was quickly approved and sent to the parliament. In a moment’s notice the parliament took action and stripped him off his MP status. A political decision from beginning to end.
For the first time, an MP was detained by an operation in the parliament. This also shows the AKP’s attitude towards the HDP. It reveals their intolerance and methods of silencing those who defend freedom and the truth. They are hostile towards the truth.
What kind of projects do you have for the upcoming period against these attacks, including the attempt to close down the HDP?
We will continue our struggle without pausing. Our determination in this matter is very clear. We will continue the struggle together with various segments of the society who are democrat, left, socialist, and religious, together with all groups, which are in favor of rights, justice, freedoms and democracy. We will keep advocating the democratic solution of the Kurdish problem and the demands of the Kurds of this country to be treated as citizens with equal rights and freedoms.
After all, we have a one-man regime that seeks to maintain its power with oppression. They try to silence society. Against this, it is necessary to work for unity and solidarity among people. The ring around us gradually grows, the network of solidarity expands and our strength also grows in parallel to the increasing solidarity. We will continue our path by insisting on democratic politics by keeping our line of struggle.
We will have meetings with the Provincial co-chairs, the Women’s Council and other committees in the next week. Our Justice for All campaign continues. Not only the government, but also the pandemic creates a challenging environment for our political campaign, but we try our best to highlight the struggle with new campaigns. On the other hand, our women’s council launched a new campaign. We will meet with women in areas against women’s impoverishment. In other words, we will continue our justice campaign for all in labor, economy and other political topics.
Most importantly, what are your alternative preparations in the case of a permanent ban on the HDP?
First of all, the HDP will not be closed. I believe it. My belief is not just wish. As a result, the HDP is a party that receives 15% of the total votes in Turkey. This means millions of people. We are the third biggest party in parliament. We are ready to continue civil politics against all possibilities. We have no trouble in this regard.
I would like to make the following call on the people who defend democracy in Turkey. This government has definitely run out of time. You should not feel fear, anxiety, or any kind of hopelessness. Together we are much more powerful than this ruling power.