Members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), left-wing groups and parties held demonstrations to condemn what they called a provocation against the HDP.
Thursday morning saw HDP deputies harassed and threatened as police surrounded the party headquarters to protect a group holding a small protest. As the group swelled outside, police prevented HDP members from leaving the building and a high-ranking police chief threatened to “nail to the wall” HDP MP Ayşe Acar Başaran. Several HDP members were detained, while others were injured in confrontations with the police.
The events of Thursday “show that the AKP government has increased its hostility against democracy and the people, and their disregard for the law and ethics,” said six political parties forming the ‘Democracy Alliance’ with HDP, in a statement on Friday.
The Democracy Alliance and several other left-wing groups had gathered in Istanbul on Thursday evening to condemn the targeting of the HDP.
“Such attacks are a life saver for President Erdoğan’s government, for when they are unable to offer an alternative to Turkey’s severe economic problems, millions go hungry. Today inflation is calculated at 170 percent.” said Özge Akman of the Workers’ Movement Party (EHP) at the demonstration.
The government attacks HDP to prolong its time in power, HDP MP Züleyha Gülüm said at the same gathering. “HDP is the peoples’ hope. See how we will bring peace and good days to this country. We will see together that the policies of war, policies to make us out to be the enemy will not prevail,” she said.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara MP Yıldırım Kaya visited the HDP headquarters while still under blockade by the police where he addressed Süleyman Soylu, the Minister of Interior Affairs directly saying: “If you kill democracy today, it will be necessary for us tomorrow. Everybody should be able to carry out their own political work in their own party.”
In a press release in Diyarbakır (Amed) again on Thursday afternoon, HDP Deputy Group Chairwoman Meral Danış Beştaş said the attack on the party was connected to the Interior Ministry.
“We respond to Ankara and the Interior Ministry from Amed. We saw your attack against our headquarters today,” Beştaş said.
The chairwoman also criticised the opposition for failing to stand up for the HDP.
“Some say they will bring back the parliamentary system and establish the rule of law again. The rule of law can only start with the HDP, with Kurds,” Beştaş said. “If the law is not in force in Amed, it will not be in force in Ankara.”
HDP is working to ensure no sons and daughters die, Beştaş continued, responding to the police chief threatening Başaran saying he was the “son of a martyr”.
“Will you hold us responsible for who killed your father? We want no soldiers, no police officers, no Kurdish youths to die,” Beştaş said.
There is no more urgent need in the country than peace, Beştaş said.
On Friday, HDP Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy said in a statement that the “organised attack” had been part of a long campaign aimed at “silencing and completely eliminating the HDP”.
“Our party, which is already under multiple unlawful attacks such as the closure case and Kobanê case, is now receiving physical attacks. As in the periods preceding the 2015 June and November elections, the government is fighting for its survival by means of increasing repression and violence against the HDP. As we get closer to the elections, it is likely that such attacks will peak,” the spokespersons said.