Turkey : Demirtaş-Lavrov Meeting – What Was Said

23rd December 2015
ANF – Moscow

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was positive with Kurdish demands for self-governance being the main point of discussion. Remarking that Kurds have retaken their place on the historical stage, he said they want to play a part to help overcome the crisis between Russia and Turkey.

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş spoke to ANF after the meeting which was also attended by Democratic Regions’ Party (DBP) co-chair Kamuran Yüksek, HDP executive in charge of Foreign Relations Nazmi Gür, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) Russia representative Selahattin Soro, Russia Kurds’ National and Cultural Federal Autonomy co-chair Ferhat Patiyev and Association of Kurdish Social Institutions co-chair Merab Şamıyev.

Pointing out the crisis in Turkey-Russia relations after the downing of the Russian jet, Demirtaş said this crisis also has a political and economic influence on the Middle East. “We as the HDP told the Russian FM that we believe this crisis shouldn’t have an impact on investors, businessmen, workers and students”, he noted.


The HDP co-chair stressed that Turkey is going through a process of change-transformation, adding; “We want this change to enable a pluralist democracy and the freedom of all identities, cultures and faith groups. On the other hand, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mindset is making an effort to take this change-transformation to a one-man, racist, religious and sectarian system. The political competition between these two courses of change causes an ideological dispute, rivalry and tension as well. We share our views in this regard with all international public opinion. We told the Russian side our approach too.”

Demirtaş emphasised that the Kurdish question in Turkey has reached a very critical phase, saying the following; “While the Kurdish people’s demand for self-governance is a legitimate demand, the AKP government wages a a policy of suppression and genocide using state forces. We believe that the Kurdish people’s demand for democratic autonomy and a constitutional status in Turkey needs to be seen by the whole world. We convey this view to those we talk to.”


Regarding the developments in Syria, Demirtas said; “The situation in Syria has also reached a significant point with the current discussion for a new constitution. As the HDP we voiced our commitment to a new constitution that guarantees the existence and freedom of all identities, groups and faiths that make up the Syrian community. ISIS and all other Al-Qaeda affiliated organisations are subjecting these diversities to hostile barbarity, in response to which the Kurdish people in Syria are mounting the bravest resistance. For this very reason, the recognition of the Kurdish people and their existence is a key factor for the future of Syria with regards to the resolution of the Syrian issue and achievement of peace in the Middle East.”

“Kurds will become a major political and democratic force in the new century. As a matter of fact, Kurds – as a side proposing a third way (neither the way of Imperialist forces nor regional dictatorships) for the resolution of sectarian and identity conflicts in the region – are retaking their place on the historical stage. International powers should see this reality and form their policies and relations with Kurds accordingly, not tactically but strategically. We state this point very clearly during our talks.”

Demirtaş also said they want to undertake a role for the resolution of the Russia-Turkey crisis through dialogue and diplomacy because they are against conflict both inside and outside Turkey.


Describing Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet as a wrong decision, the HDP co-chair said; “The Turkish President pursued an inconsistent policy on this point. He first said it was the right decision, and later started to falter, saying ‘We wouldn’t have downed the jet if we had known it was a Russian one’. After that, he said ‘it is the pilot’s mistake’. These inconsistent policies make it very difficult to find a solution. The AKP has an unprincipled approach that is faltering in every regard. On the other hand, the principled stance of our party is attracting the attention of Turkey’s peoples and the international community. In addition, the Kurdish people are mounting a substantial resistance in this very challenging period. They are fighting bravely in Shengal, Kobanê and every inch of Rojava, and the whole world respects it. The HDP’s close relations with the Kurdish people as well as society and political movements in Rojava and South Kurdistan are also attracting attention. The HDP wants to use all these means for the achievement of peace in Turkey and the region. Russia also sees and supports this attitude of ours.”


Demirtaş finished by saying they had made an attempt to help people with Turkish passports in Russia, including students, workers, employers and investors. “We have talked about this issue in detail and we will make headway in this regard,” he said.