Turkish president Erdoğan recently directed comments at Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chair of the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), that he will have to ‘account for himself to İmralı (a euphemism for the Kurdish leader Öcalan, İmralı being the prison where he is held)’. Remzi Kartal, co-chair of the People’s Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel), assesses this in the programme, Sıcak Gündem, moderated by Erdal Er, available on YouTube.
In his speech, Erdoğan said, “the man in Edirne (Edirne prison, where Demirtaş is detained) will have to answer most to the man in İmralı. People think that it is all a rose garden now. It is not. They have their own accounts between themselves, and they will fight these out.” In response to this, Demirtaş, former HDP Co-chair, who is detained in Edirne F-Type Prison despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that he should be ‘immediately released’, said to Erdoğan, “Don’t you worry about me, think about your own accounts”, MA reported.
Demirtas posted: “Politicians answer to the people, to their party, to parliament, to the INDEPENDENT judiciary. Stop worrying about me and think about your own accounts.”
Is there a dialogue with İmralı?
After Turkish President Erdoğan mentioned the word “İmralı” in his speech, debates arose in Turkey about whether there has been an ongoing dialogue between Abdullah Öcalan and state officials.
One response to the “İmralı” statement which has caused so much discussion, came from Remzi Kartal. In answer to the question, “Does Erdoğan want to create conflict among the Kurds, how do you evaluate this statement of his?”, Kartal said that it was impossible that Erdoğan could have set out on a process of dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan in order to make such a statement, and that he was motivated by hostility, remarking that in order to understand his intentions it is necessary to look at what he does in response to problems of the Kurdish people in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, to look at these places,
Kartal made assessments of the matter in the Sıcak Gündem broadcast by Erdal Er, summarised as follows:
‘There is hostility towards the Kurds at the highest level’
“There is hostility being propagated against the Kurds at the highest level, from the arbitrary isolation applied to Öcalan, to the HDP, the community, the municipalities and the people, and the dirty war being waged abroad, and we can add many more examples to these. During such a process, Erdoğan comes out and says, “the man in Edirne will have to answer most to the man in İmralı”. What is he trying to say? He says: if the dialogue process has collapsed, it is the fault of Selahattin Demirtaş, who is imprisoned in Edirne. On top of this he also accuses the HDP.” Kartal continued:
“He wants to remove blame from himself, this is an extremely ugly and two-faced policy. All the world knows that Erdoğan has submitted to the forces of the deep state and adopted the state’s policies of denial towards the Kurdish question.”
‘He’s so badly squeezed that he’s taking refuge in Öcalan’
Kartal also commented that as Erdoğan has not got results from his policies, he is trying to change the agenda of these talks around completely and make it look as though he has meetings going on with İmralı (ie with Öcalan).
“At the same time he is putting pressure on the HDP. He wants to confuse the public. His policies are directed at the elections. Erdoğan is so badly squeezed that he’s taking refuge in Öcalan.”
Kartal said that the Kurdish people had insight into the matter, and added, “Erdoğan does not have the power to confuse our people, the people need to be alert to the matter.”