Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of Turkey’s left Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has traveled to the Kurdistan region of the country speaking to residents of towns under police and military assault. Figen described what she had seen as “a war against the people” by the ruling government.
Over recent weeks, the ruling AKP government in Turkey has been ordering unceasing military and police attacks in the Kurdistan region of the country. Figen Yüksekdağ, chair of the left party HDP, commented on the violence. She noted that the state began launching such attacks in the wake of a massive electoral victory for her party in Kurdistan, where the AKP lost a significant amount of votes.
“This is a war being waged against the people,” said Figen. She reported on what she has seen over a week as part of a delegation visiting the towns of Şemdinli, Yüksekova and Hakkari.
“The things we saw, these were attacks that are forbidden even by the laws of war,” said Figen. “They’re using all kinds of heavy weaponry against the people–howitzers, rocket launchers, bombs, weapons that we haven’t yet even been able to identify. We witnessed the kind of destruction that comes from using those weapons in inhabited areas,” said Figen. Figen said that the scale of the destruction pointed to a deliberate policy of targeting civilians.
“Yes, we know that this is an area where guerrillas have certain amounts of activity, but the attacks we’ve seen, the deaths and assassinations, and the way these attacks have happened, show that civilians are being targeted,” she said. She described the scene as the delegation arrived at the town of Şemdinli, where dozens of burned-out vehicles nearly blocked the road. “People who do this can’t be aiming to ‘protect the country,'” said Figen.
Figen noted that the local people have made a conscious decision not to abandon their homes, as an act of resistance against the war. “People are really being forced to migrate,” said Figen, but the people have organized to stand their ground. Figen evaluated this as a democratic impulse, as Kurdish people said that they wanted the right to local governance. Figen noted that the conscious stance that the Kurdish people have taken to defend their democratic rights shows the way to Turkey.
But, she said, “if the war in this land isn’t stopped, all of Turkey will drown.”
More co-mayors arrested in Kurdistan
MÊRDÎN – Turkish police continue to arrest the co-mayors of towns in Northern Kurdistan (in Turkey). Sara Kaya, the female co-mayor of the town of Nusaybin, is among the most recent to be arrested.
Sara was arrested along with Zinnet Alğan, the district co-chair for the Democratic Regions Party (DBP). 91% of the people of Nusaybin voted for Sara in the most recent local election. She spoke in front of the municipal building before police transported her to jail.
“We said that we would serve the people based on the call for self-government and free identity,” said Sara. “Unfortunately, the AKP did not tolerate this. But they should know well that we will always stand behind the promise we made to the people.”
Municipal workers, citizens and activists gathered at the courthouse when they heard that the co-mayor was being arrested. She hugged her two daughters goodbye as she was taken away. The crowd in front of the courthouse chanted slogans condemning the repression.
Sara and Zinnet are currently jailed on charges of being “members of an illegal organization.”