HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) co-chairperson Garo Paylan spoke to the Mesopotamia News Agency about the ongoing economic crisis and the political atmosphere in Turkey. He also shared his thoughts on the Kurdish problem and its relation to the economic crisis.
“Diyarbakır (Amed) is one of the cities that is most affected by the economic crisis”, said the HDP deputy. “This crisis in Turkey will never end unless the Kurdish problem is solved”.
The “New Life Economy” campaign was initiated by the HDP in order to allow people to meet and talk about their problems. As part of that campaign, “Work and Food Meetings” were launched in Diyarbakır on 21 January, in which a delegation met with all non-governmental organisations for two days. Paylan talked about his observations after the meetings in Diyarbakir. Compared to other cities in Turkey, “people are living in very hard conditions there”, said Paylan.
“There is a very high rate of unemployment in Turkey”, he said. “According to official figures, unemployment in Turkey seems to be 12 percent. However, broadly defined, unemployment is about 25 to 30 percent. This situation is worse in Diyarbakir. One of every two people in Diyarbakır is unemployed”.
‘New Life Economy’ campaign
Garo Paylan explained the reason why the HDP launched the “New Life Economy” campaign: “The ongoing economic crisis has worsened with the pandemic and people have become increasingly impoverished. We launched the campaign to listen to people’s demands and determine new policies for them. We will listen to the demands of people in all the provinces of Turkey”.
Emphasising that Diyarbakır is a city with great potential for Turkey in many areas such as agriculture, industry, trade, and tourism, Paylan said, “The potential in Diyarbakır has not been used. We discussed this with unions, trade associations, workers and employers in the city”.
The poverty in Diyarbakir is very much related to Turkey’s oppressive politics against Kurds, said Paylan. “Diyarbakir is the most political city in Turkey”, he said. “The people of Diyarbakır are well aware of the policies in the country. The government’s insistence on war politics and its failure to solve the Kurdish problem is the biggest issue here. We know that the agricultural areas of Diyarbakır have the potential to feed this whole region. The city has an industrial potential that can export to many countries and it has a 12,000-year-old story that can attract five million tourists annually. However, all this potential is wasted. Unless the Kurdish problem is solved and the discriminatory policies end the poverty will continue. Everyone agrees on this in Diyarbakır, including its workers, villagers, and employers”.
The HDP delegation has had 14 meetings in Diyarbakir and spoke to hundreds of people in the city to collect their demands. “We are planning to visit all provinces in Turkey before the end of 2021”, said Paylan. “We can say that people in Diyarbakir demand both peace and wealth. They need work; our goal is to fulfill their demands but we need a just economic program”, he said.
“We called on both employers and employees in Diyarbakir to build that new economic system together”, concluded Paylan. “We decided to work together and we will continue our meetings and discussions with them”.