Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) members in Turkey’s eastern city of Hakkari (Colemêrg) on Monday wanted to issue a press statement to expose a hate group that has been targeting their party building for a period of time.
Sait Dede, the HDP’s MP for Hakkari, the former co-mayors of Hakkari (who had been relieved of their posts through the forced appointment of a government appointed trustee) and tens of HDP members had gathered in front of their party building to issue their press statement. However the police, who had previously not intervened to stop the intimidating presence of hate groups that began to show up in front of the HDP’s party office in Hakkari weeks ago, intervened to halt the peaceful press statement being read out, MA reported.
Police blocked the gathering of HDP members on the grounds that they did not have an official permit from the Governor’s Office to make a press statement. They warned those present that they would “intervene and disperse” them if they did not disperse within “five minutes.”
“What kind of a language is that?,” asked HDP’s MP Dede. “How can you speak in that tone? Who are you to give us five minutes notice? Why will they intervene? Have they already closed down our party? Have they declared martial rule? Why can’t we issue a press statement in front of our own party building?”
Despite the police officers’ increasing harassment and the police chief’s orders to the riot police to “sweep and disperse” those waiting to hear the press statement, HDP’s MP Dede insisted on defending their right to make a peaceful press statement.
After a long discussion, an HDP member read out their their press statement. “Every fortnight, a group comes in front of our HDP party office. They loudly curse and verbally insult our party in front of our party building. In order to not hear those insults, we play loud music,” said Lokman Özdemir, the co-chair of HDP’s Hakkari office.
“Last week, they acted differently. They stoned our building and they tried to take down the poster of Deniz Poyraz, who was murdered in the HDP’s Izmir office. The killer of Deniz Poyraz said that he was influenced by the groups waiting in front of the HDP and he was encouraged by such groups to raid the HDP office and kill Deniz Poyraz,” Özdemir said.
Özdemir stated that should a case arise where an HDP member gets hurt in Hakkari, those responsible will include all those who did not act to stop these hate groups gathering and acting in this way, despite all the efforts of the HDP for weeks attempting to expose their presence and actions.
“On one hand, they have opened a case to close down our party. On the other, they collect a bunch of people and direct them to act this way in front of our party buildings. We do not accept these insults,” he said. He appealed for solidarity with the HDP in the face of increasing lynch campaigns being directed at the party.