While prominent Kurdish politicians, whose immunities were lifted in the Turkish parliament with the support of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), have been incarcerated for more than five years now, and Kurds continue to be abducted, tortured, killed and driven out of their homes in Syria’s northern Kurdish-majority city of Afrin, under Turkish occupation by the approval of the Turkish parliament and with the support of CHP, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaoğlu visited Diyarbakır (Amed) in an attempt to reconcile with the Kurdish people and to ask for their votes in the coming elections.
Sırrı Sakık, former Kurdish MP and dismissed mayor of Ağrı (Agırî) said on Twitter:
“The Kurdish question is a grave and old one, and we’ve been witness to enough pain to know that it cannot be resolved merely by words. We lost too many lives and too much time. Politics is not just constantly expressing ‘good will’. How would you be able to step in for the resolution of a question when you’re reluctant even to name that question?”
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu made a romantic and timid address in Diyarbakır. He said, ‘I understand you, I’m aware of your problems.’ Yes, but we couldn’t understand which problems he was aware of. He said he would solve the problems. Yes, but how?”
While Kılıçdaroğlu met no official of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) during his visit, Ahmet Cemal, a prominent Turkish journalist, said:
“The Kurdish question cannot be resolved, or Erdoğan defeated in the ballot box, by distancing HDP or by excluding or ignoring HDP. I think the leader of CHP has been aware of this apparent situation for a long time, but he should spend more effort to tell about this HDP reality to his partners in the [opposition] alliance. And when one starts talking about the Kurds, the Kurdish question and HDP, there are those nationalists in his own party, of course. In short, he has no easy task. He’s walking on more than a single thin rope, and he indeed has to. There’s no other way he’s going to succeed.”
As Kılıçdaroğlu met with a group of young people during his visit, one asked him what he though about the absolute communication ban imposed upon Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), for almost a year. Kılıçdaroğlu replied saying that ‘the parliament was the place for any solution’, Mezopotamya News Agency reported.
Another young individual asked for his opinion about increasing rights violations and deaths in prisons. While Kılıçdaroğlu chose not to respond to the question, he said that people shouldn’t be imprisoned for their ideas.
Kurdish researcher Reha Ruhavioğlu spoke to journalist Murat Sabucu on Kılıçdaroğlu’s Diyarbakır visit. He said that not inviting Başak Demirtaş, the wife of imprisoned Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş, to the breakfast Kılıçdaroğlu had with 11 Kurdish women was a mistake.
Ruhavioğlu noted that although Kılıçdaroğlu had a quite positive image in the region, this did not translate to votes, because:
“The Kurdish voter is expecting something else to vote for CHP. ‘You’re approaching us by hints, but we’re saying everything directly to you,’ they seem to be saying. The Kurdish voter want solid steps.”
CHP had received about 2% of the votes in the province of Diyarkakır in the last general elections in 2018, while HDP received 66%, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), 22%.