The recent unrest in several European cities caused by supporters of HDP ánd the terrorist organization PKK due to the arrest of HDP politicians, among whom party co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, should be put in perspective. It is brought to the public attention as if Kurds are being excluded from every aspect of life in Turkey. Something the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Mehmet Simsek, a Kurd himself, would -i believe- deny in the strongest of terms.
We should place the arrests of HDP politicians in Turkey in perspective and approach it rationally: these are politicians who are called to be interrogated on charges such as supporting a terrorist organization that commits indiscriminate bombings in Turkey on a weekly and lately even daily basis, and in which many innocent people lose their lives. These politicians refuse to show up for their interrogation and make bold statements in public that the state would have to come and take them by force to be interrogated about these charges, and consequently are picked up by the long arm of the law as was seen on the several videos posted online. So far, nothing happens beyond the Turkish laws.
The PKK-HDP connection
Several politicians from the HDP are suspected to have supported the terrorist organization PKK. Not only that. They are suspected of funneling public funds from the Turkish state to facilitate PKK terror and public property like excavators to be used for planting IED’s and other explosives, targeting Turkish security forces. Other, less serious charges, include attending funerals of terrorists, including the terrorist who blew himself up in Ankara and in which dozens of people ranging in the ages between 4.5 and 66 year old, died in the blast. The local Kurdish population in the communities where some of these politicians govern, complain about the fact that the municipality forces them out of their homes if they refuse to support PKK activities. This de facto puts the Turkish state offside, and hands over control of these municipalities to a terorrist group with the taxpayers money being used against that same state.
Taxpayers money for terrorism
Can you imagine that there is an armed terorist group operating in the Netherlands who claims to defend the rights of discriminated minorities, and which is assisted by a party that claims to strive for equal rights for minorities who are being discriminated against? Can you imagine that this hypothetical party, let’s call it THINK, governs in several municipalities where government owned vehicles are being used to plant IED’s, roadside bombs and other explosives which target Dutch security forces, and that residents of those communities, who complain about these activities are kicked out of their homes which is then being demolished? Would the Dutch state not have a right, or better yet, an obligation, to battle this armed terorist group and start a criminal investigation into alleged ties of politicians with this terrorist group? Can you imagine foreign countries being outraged at the Dutch government when it locks up politicians who are suspected of supporting terrorism which targets their inhabitants and they propagate you should be kicked out of NATO or that the accession negotiations into a union should be suspended?
Of course Kurds in Turkey have the right to form their own party and participate in elections. I am all for that. A party that represents their interests at the national and even supranational level. But does this mean that the Turkish government is not allowed to uphold the law in all parts of the nation when innocent civilians are being targeted? No. Turkey has every right, or better yet, the duty, to protect its citizens against any kind of foreign or domestic threat.
What remains is the grim outlook after these series of arrests. At first sight a bleak image of state oppression targeting Kurds, an image which is gladly amplified by western media which is currently running an escalation campaign against Turkey. This is a false image in every way, in a country where the deputy prime minister Mehmet Simsek is of Kurdish origin himself. The Turkish state and we as Turkish (And Dutch) citizens should make an effort of telling the right story of what is going on. The Turkish government should make an effort to show the Kurds of Turkey that they are part of the great Turkish nation with all of its colours, and relieve them from the stranglehold the PKK has them in. It is true that the Kurds were treated poorly for decades in Turkey, but the old Turkey is no longer there. Turkey has taken countless steps to integrate all aspects of the Kurdish culture into the Turkish society, in some cases even against the discomfort of nationalist Turks, who were also against negotiations between the state and the terrorist PKK from the beginning. With the arrests of politicians who support the PKK you should also reach out to the Kurds of Turkey and tell them that they are not trapped between two fires, and can count on the state for the protection of their goods, lives and wellbeing. Offering democratization and economic development packages to eastern Turkey and the Kurdish people will give them confidence that they too belong in this family of ours. The Turkish government will, if it is executed correctly, succeed in something what no other government has succeeded in: undermining the legitimacy of the PKK and its sway over the people, with nothing more than democratisation and prosperity, rather than with guns. With the correct steps taken, the role of the PKK and their political elements in the HDP will be played out.
Both Turks and Kurds are hard headed and will not allow for anyone to rule over them. If you ask around on the streets both have the desire to live together in peace, without the threat of violence, nor entities or persons who fancy themselves above the law. No one should feel less or alienated in the Turkey i dream about. Turks and Kurds should strive to look for what binds them, instead of what divides them. Only then, will we succeed in leaving to our children, a Turkey with intellectual and cultural abundance in which we strive to fight for the greater good of humanity instead of fighting each other.