A total of 78 politicians, scholars, writers and journalists made a public call for peace in the Kurdish conflict in Istanbul on 28 October. They have all signed the “Call for Peace” declaration, which presses for an end to the isolation imposed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and advocates a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue.
Şanar Yurdatapan, a musician with a staunch human rights stance and a signatory to the declaration, spoke to Mezopotamya Ajansı (MA) on Monday about the content and objectives of the declaration. He emphasised that it is critical to understand Öcalan’s viewpoint, saying, “If Öcalan’s isolation ends, everyone will clearly see and hear what he wants to say. Let us hear it too, let’s see what he says. What have you to fear in that? Such state actions [isolation] are tantamount to a crime against humanity.”
Yurdatapan pointed out that the so-called “Kurdish problem” has been artificially created by the Turkish state and would be more accurately described as a “Turkish problem”. “Kurds were living in Malazgirt centuries before the Turks arrived there. This has always been a contentious issue in Turkey, consciously crafted by the state, flying in the face of the adage ‘peace at home, peace in the world’,” he remarked.
Highlighting the importance of the peace process of 2013 – 2015, Yurdatapan noted how everything went into reverse when the Kurds still did not vote for President Erdoğan. “They deposed elected mayors and replaced them with government appointees, then later threats of party shutdowns emerged. The process continued with the imprisonment of Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ and the elected mayors, and it is still ongoing,” he stated.
Yurdatapan said that the “Call for Peace” declaration had come about in the hopes of an answer to the solution, and as such was extremely important. He said it demanded the removal of social and economic pressures on the Kurdish population and unconditional freedoms of organisation and expression. He emphasised the need for collective pressure to actualise the content of the declaration, saying, “It’s not enough to merely announce it.”
Yurdatapan urged all opposition groups desirous of a resolution to the Kurdish issue to embrace the declaration. “Is this possible? Yes. Is it easy? No, but we must do it,” he said.