Dozens of people recently attacked a Kurdish family in Konya in central Turkey and shot 43-year-old Kurdish man Hakim Dal dead. Konya’s Governor released a statement arguing that the attack did not have any ”racist or ethnic motives.” However, contesting the Governor’s claim, Hakim Dal’s family stated that the attack was a racist attack and that Hakim Dal was murdered because he was Kurdish.
The attack on the Kurdish family was reportedly the third recent racist attack against Kurds in Turkey. Racist attacks have reportedly occurred in Afyon and in Ankara.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP’s) MP for Izmir, Serpil Kemalbay, shared her criticisms with Jin News about the increasing lynching of Kurds living in the country.
Stating that Kurds and refugees are seen as ‘cheap labour’ in western Turkey, Kemalbay pointed out that the Kurds mostly living in the western cities of the country are being exposed to racist attacks.
Kemalbay shared her view that the racist policies and hate speeches of the government played an active role in formenting the racist attacks, saying, ”The policies are put in place to isolate the HDP from the West and from democratic politics, not only through rhetoric, but also by attacking the HDP’s offices. They always trigger each other. The opposition must clearly take a stand for the equality of peoples and distance themselves from the policies of hate.”
“A climate of fear has been created since 7 June 2015 elections. The language of hate constantly being used by the government has caused an increase in racist attacks. There is a rhetoric being directed against the HDP and the Kurdish political figures, trying to criminalise them.”
Kemalbay pointed out how Kurdish seasonal workers were immediately sent back to their hometowns after they were attacked. “These people, who came here as seasonal workers, using their best efforts to earn their annual income, have lost everything: their lives, health and the little money they had saved, and they were sent to their hometowns. Regardless of what angle you view this from, from each angle you should see that this is discrimination, this is racism,” she said.
The HDP MP criticised the official statement of the Konya Governor after the attack on the Kurdish family. ”No justice was provided and the attacks were not effectively investigated. Konya’s Governor provoked racist attacks by rejecting the racist nature of the attack on the Kurdish family in Konya.”
Kemalbay added: ”As always, not the assailants, but the the people who were exposed to the attack have been targeted. How many racist attacks have occured recently? Are these all normal? Just as the attack on Deniz Poyraz and the attack on the HDP’s district building in Marmaris were not isolated incidents as they claim, these attacks are not isolated incidents as well. The government is responsible for these attacks. They must accept that responsibility.”
She underlined that the militarist and racist character of the state is also seen in opposition parties, especially the main opposition party, referring to the Republican People’s Party (CHP). ”Although it may seem that there are some changes in its style during the election periods, we see that real democracy and pluralism cannot be achieved. In the face of racist attacks, the main opposition party must first raise its voice. It should argue that the conflicts in these areas are the result of hate speech, that they are the result of discriminatory chauvinist policies, that people are equal.”
Kemalbay concluded by stating that, in light of the racist attack in Konya, all opposition parties must take a stand to defend the equality of the peoples. “The peoples of Turkey demand change and it should also be recognised by the opposition parties. When Deniz Poyraz was murdered, support and solidarity was insufficient. It is necessary to move away from a language and understanding of Turkishness as ‘superior’ and as the ‘owner’ of these lands.”