Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), delivered a sharp critique of the Turkish government’s approach to the Kurdish issue in his defence during the ongoing Kobane trial. He particularly focused on the hypocrisy in blaming Kurdish politicians for the involvement of young Kurds in conflicts.
“We are trying to stop armed conflict, but they are showing Kurdish politicians as responsible for the youth going to the mountains. It’s sheer hypocrisy,” Demirtaş stated. His comments come at a crucial time, as Turkey is experiencing significant military casualties in operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
Reflecting on the personal tragedies of war, Demirtaş quoted a fallen Turkish soldier’s poignant last words, “Rain is beautiful to those who aren’t wet, love to those who haven’t experienced it, war to those who haven’t fought”. He lamented, “This young man is no longer alive. Politicians advocate for war without shame, yet it’s the youth who pay the ultimate price.”
Demirtaş further criticised the government’s stance, adding, “Why are our brothers being pitted against each other? This fascist, racist mentality is imposed on us”. He mourned the loss of over 60,000 Kurdish and Turkish children in the conflict, questioning, “For what cause? It’s all for their interests, for politicians to get richer”.