Français | English

Ever since the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s elec­toral suc­cess in June 2015 the regime has attempt­ed with every means to destroy pop­u­lar sup­port for the Par­ty, as well as the Par­ty itself.

This Kur­dish move­ment chose a polit­i­cal offer for all the peo­ples of Turkey. And it is on this basis that the dif­fer­ent move­ments stem­ming from anti-regime strug­gles of the pre­ced­ing years joined up (See com­plete arti­cle The HDP “Pro-Kur­dish Par­ty” an unbear­able media jin­gle — in French).

The uni­lat­er­al break in nego­ti­a­tions with the Kur­dish move­ment (known as the “res­o­lu­tion process”) inter­vened in 2015. It marked the bru­tal end to a peri­od of over­tures where a few fun­da­men­tal rights could be exer­cised. It announced a peri­od of exac­tions, dis­crim­i­na­tions and repressions.

The con­flict opened in Kur­dis­tan, in east­ern Turkey when the regime massed troops and mili­tias against towns and dis­tricts that had declared their “auton­o­my”, apply­ing de fac­to the demands expressed dur­ing the dis­cus­sions. These dec­la­ra­tions served as the rea­son for declar­ing a state of siege and cur­fews, bomb­ings and the destruc­tion of entire neigh­bor­hoods that resist­ed. These resis­tance strug­gles of 2015 are also known as the “war of trench­es” based ib the exam­ple of the mar­tyred towns and neigh­bor­hoods destroyed by the Turk­ish State. These bloody and mur­der­ous episodes were added on as a sup­ple­men­tary lay­er to the long his­to­ry of oppres­sion of the Kur­dish peo­ple, fol­low­ing on the black decades of 1980 and 1990. This time, the mur­der­ous ele­ment was not Kemal­ist mil­i­tarism but the Erdoğan regime, aid­ed by offi­cers of the Gülen broth­er­hood, who were then accom­plices of the crimes against the Kur­dish populations.

For fur­ther read­ing on this top­ic, you may con­sult Kedis­tan’s archived mate­ri­als of the sec­ond half of the year 2015.

To this police and mil­i­tary offen­sive were added a will to polit­i­cal­ly destroy the HDP which was resist­ing as best it could.

In March 2016, the lift­ing of par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty was request­ed for cer­tain elect­ed mem­bers of the HDP Par­ty, among them Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş and Figen Yük­sek­dağ who were then its Co-Pres­i­dents. On Novem­ber 4 2016, the elect­ed mem­bers were arrest­ed, then incar­cer­at­ed. They are still in prison.

Of course, none of this has any­thing to do with the “failed coup d’é­tat” of July 2016. But Erdoğan ful­ly exploit­ed the bonus it pro­vid­ed. And pro­ceed­ed to charge the lead­ers with accu­sa­tions of “ter­ror­ism”, “sep­a­ratism”, “gulenism” , all terms that became of com­mon usage in the regime’s tri­bunals of injus­tice, just as they still are nowadays.

In 2016, numer­ous HDP offices were attacked by ultra­na­tion­al­ists. These attacks are still occur­ring sporadically.

In this year of 2020, after the HDP has man­aged to main­tain its pop­u­lar sup­port in the elec­tions of the pre­vi­ous five years, despite the “blood­let­ting” imposed on it, the regime has fur­ther accen­tu­at­ed these polit­i­cal and repres­sive offensives.

A num­ber of mem­bers and lead­ers of the HDP are in prison or in a con­stant back and forth in and out of it. To this day, 73 HDP may­orl­ties have found them­selves placed under gov­ern­men­tal admin­is­tra­tors fol­low­ing the with­draw­al of the Co-May­ors from their duties, and their arrest.

No lat­er than yes­ter­day, the Min­is­ter of the Turk­ish Inte­ri­or, Süley­man Soy­lu, in a marathon speech to the Nation­al Assem­bly spoke of “devel­op­ments” in dif­fer­ent Kur­dish towns, con­grat­u­lat­ing him­self for action “oh! Oh so well done’ like a school boy, “Oh! Ooooh! The mon­ey isn’t going to the PKK, it is going to the Nation, Oh, oh! We have tak­en back 73 city halls and placed admin­is­tra­tors in them. Take down notes!” he cried with unre­strained rage, “694 years of prison are demand­ed against these may­ors!” … Applause followed…

This 40 minute long speech before the Turk­ish Assem­bly would deserve an arti­cle and a trans­la­tion all its own. Mixed togeth­er, we find in it every pos­si­ble com­bi­na­tion attribut­ing “ter­ror­ism” to the HDP, putting it on an equal foot­ing with the Ital­ian Mafia, the Basque inde­pen­den­tists and the Gold­en Dawn in Greece… Find the mis­take. The com­mon fea­ture HDP+PKK, that great clas­sic, is also trot­ted out, charg­ing the HDP of “crimes”, with a num­ber of pho­tographs, and treat­ing young vic­tims of the repres­sion of “child ter­ror­ists”. Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş whose lib­er­a­tion is demand­ed by the Euro­pean Tri­bunal of Human Right is also labelled as a ter­ror­ist leader. The speech also served to jus­ti­fy all the upcom­ing repres­sion, com­bin­ing “peace and uni­ty of the Nation” and “a unwa­ver­ing strug­gle against the terrorists’.

Already, in June 2020, Kedis­tan spoke in a col­umn of a kind of media embar­go, of the efforts by the ones and the oth­ers to ren­der this pro­gres­sist and demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty invis­i­ble and inaudi­ble, and of sul­furous whiffs of a desire for its annihilation…

Last Octo­ber 20, with an opin­ion col­umn writ­ten in prison, Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş in per­son denounced “a plot against the HDP on the back of Kobanê”.

Noth­ing sur­pris­ing in this for a State that is no longer under the rule of Law. You already know what we think of States them­selves, but when the one in Turkey becomes a Car­tel regime, no trace of jus­tice can subsist.

For the past few days, there is again a ques­tion of lift­ing the immu­ni­ty of the few remain­ing HDP deputies who are still free… The 29 new requests for the lift­ing of Par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty sub­mit­ted recent­ly to the Turk­ish Nation­al Assem­bly’s bureau con­cern oppo­si­tion deputies, essen­tial­ly those elect­ed for the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP). Indeed, 23 of the requests would sup­press par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty for 17 deputies of this par­ty, includ­ing its Copres­i­dent Mithat Sancar.

From left to right: Ayşe Sürücü (1 request), Berdan Öztürk (2), Felek­nas Uca (2), Garo Pay­lan (1), Gülüs­tan Kılıç Koçy­iğit (1), Habip Eksik (1),Hişyar Özsoy (2), Hüseyin Kaç­maz (1), İmam Taşçıer (2), Mer­al Danış Beş­taş (1), Mithat San­car (1), Murat Sarısaç (1), Nuran İmir (3), Ömer Faruk Gerg­er­lioğlu (1), Ömer Öcalan (1), Sezai Temel­li (1), Tayip Temel (1).

* * *

We have cho­sen here to trans­late and to present a sum­ma­ry of a report from 2015. This report antic­i­pates the ongo­ing repres­sion, and states the rea­sons for it, on top of the anti-Kur­dish nation­al­ist racism under­ly­ing the regime and the pol­i­cy of its coali­tions of interests.

This “Kur­dish Report” was estab­lished in Sep­tem­ber 2015 by the SETA Foun­da­tion, a think tank close­ly linked to the AKP.

Before look­ing at it, a bit of information:

What is SETA?

The SETA Foun­da­tion, in Turk­ish, “Siyaset, Ekono­mi ve Toplum Araştır­maları Vak­fı” and in Eng­lish the “Foun­da­tion for Polit­i­cal, Eco­nom­ic and Social Research” is a polit­i­cal “think tank” based in Ankara. With one click one learns on Wikipedia that the group was cre­at­ed in 2006 in order to pro­duce “knowl­edge and up-to-date and pre­cise analy­ses in the areas of pol­i­tics, the econ­o­my and soci­ety” and “to inform deciders and the gen­er­al pub­lic on the evo­lu­tion of polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, social and cul­tur­al con­di­tions”. Burhanet­tin Duran has served as its gen­er­al coor­di­na­tor since 2014. On its “about” page which has dis­ap­peared from their web­site (but you can find an archived copy here), the group describes itself as “inde­pen­dent, non-prof­it and non-par­ti­san” but it is described by Deutsche Welle as being con­trolled by Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The foun­da­tion has offices in Istan­bul, Wash­ing­ton D.C. and Cairo, and pro­duces a uni­ver­si­ty news­pa­per about Turkey: Insight Turkey.

Some of SETA’s cur­rent and for­mer mem­bers are also high-rank­ing civ­il ser­vants of the Erdoğan pres­i­den­tial sys­tem, colum­nists for pro-AKP media. İbrahim Kalın, SETA’s found­ing direc­tor, is now Erdoğan’s main advi­sor and spokesman since 2014. He was a colum­nist for Sabah, the main pro-AKP news­pa­per. Anoth­er name that might sound famil­iar is that of Fahret­tin Altun. He was men­tioned in one of the recent arti­cles in Kedis­tan, one that relayed incred­i­ble rev­e­la­tions, straight out of the email of Berat Albayrak, Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Finance Min­is­ter — recent­ly ex in the lat­ter case… Fahret­tin Altun is SETA’s for­mer gen­er­al coor­di­na­tor for Istan­bul and deputy gen­er­al coor­di­na­tor for SETA, and now chief of pres­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ca­tions. He was also a colum­nist at Sabah. Burhanet­tin Duran, SETA’s gen­er­al coor­di­na­tor is also a mem­ber of the Pres­i­den­tial Secu­ri­ty and For­eign Pol­i­cy Coun­cil and a colum­nist for Sabah. Muham­met Müc­ahit Küçükyıl­maz, for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tion coor­di­na­tor for SETA is now prin­ci­pal advi­sor to Recept Tayyip Erdoğan and…columnist for Sabah. Hat­ice Kara­han, who does eco­nom­ic research for SETA is now eco­nom­ic advi­sor to the Reis and a chron­i­cler for the rag at the regime’s ser­vice, Yeni Şafak.

In ear­ly July 2019, SETA pub­lished a 202 page report titled “Exten­sions of Inter­na­tion­al Media in Turkey” which caused a huge con­tro­ver­sy in Turkey and abroad. The report pro­vid­ed indi­vid­ual names and pro­fes­sion­al back­grounds of Turk­ish jour­nal­ists work­ing in the Turk­ish branch­es of insti­tu­tions such as Euronews, BBC, Deutsche Welle, Voice of Amer­i­ca, Sput­nik, CRI and The Inde­pen­dent… In this report, SETA also pro­vid­ed sam­ples of shares by jour­nal­ists on their per­son­al accounts on social net­works, dis­play­ing them and accus­ing these mem­bers of the press of anti-gov­ern­men­tal bias. Unions and jour­nal­ist asso­ci­a­tions con­demned the report.

If you now have a gen­er­al idea of SETA, let’s go back fur­ther in time. Because our top­ic is the “Kur­dish Report” from 2015…

What does the “Kurdish Report” say?

This 64 page report observes and advis­es: “There must be put an end to the res­o­lu­tion process”, “an inter­ven­tion is nec­es­sary on the rise in Kur­dish nation­al aware­ness”, “the Pres­i­dent of the Republics’ poli­cies alien­ate the Kurds”, “the pol­i­cy barons are present at the heart of the AKP”…Every­thing is there.

The com­plete report is found as an attach­ment to an email received in Berat Albayrak’s email which was pirat­ed and made avail­able to pub­lic opin­ion on Wik­ileaks. You can also see the doc­u­ment in Turk­ish in pdf for­mat HERE.

(Diyarbakır, Urfa, Adıyaman, Antep, Mersin, Muş, Bitlis, Van, Bingöl, Ağrı, Erzurum, İstanbul, Ankara, Kocaeli, Bursa, İzmir) September 7–15 2015

■ Dur­ing the June 2015 elec­tions, the fall in Kur­dish votes and those of the young received by the AKP Par­ty reached notice­able lev­els. (Page 2)

■ It was noticed that, with the rise in Kur­dish iden­ti­ty, the AKP’s ser­vice pol­i­cy and its speech on uni­ty based on reli­gion have lost their influ­ence in the region. (Page 6)

■ It was observed that local rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the AKP give an image of “a Par­ty for the rich, for the elite”. (Page 6)

■ The peo­ple with whom inter­views were con­duct­ed, stat­ed the dom­i­na­tion of a group defined as “polit­i­cal barons” in the AKP’s local struc­tures. Accord­ing to these state­ments, the peo­ple influ­en­tial in the towns’ orga­ni­za­tion attempt to con­trol the town’s polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic poli­cies and obtain polit­i­cal advan­tages from them. (Page 7)

■ The pos­si­bil­i­ty of keep­ing the Kurds by the side of the AKP or of the gov­ern­ment with the “way of doing pol­i­tics” adopt­ed by the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic has become dif­fi­cult, this is expressed unan­i­mous­ly. (Page 8)

■ As the Kurds have a tra­di­tion­al social struc­ture and val­ues, it would be nec­es­sary to con­sti­tute a del­e­ga­tion with­in the AKP, direct­ly linked to the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic and, through its inter­ven­tion to estab­lish a close con­tact with the sheikhs, opin­ion lead­ers influ­en­tial on the elec­tors, to build a con­stant dia­logue and con­duct con­sul­ta­tions. (Page 19)

■ The young peo­ple think that only the HDP can offer more, and even more impor­tant­ly that it can offer the most. Among young Kurds, self-con­fi­dence has plateaued. (Page 25)

■ Dur­ing the res­o­lu­tion peri­od, the HDP and the PKK were mas­ters of the field and devel­oped the urban struc­tures very well. A hier­ar­chi­cal struc­ture was set up from cor­po­ra­tive orga­ni­za­tions to col­lege or uni­ver­si­ty ones, this allows a mes­sage sent from above to reach HDP sym­pa­thiz­ers with­in an hour. (Page 25)

■ Young peo­ple gath­er on social net­works around accounts belong­ing to the HDP, thus obtain­ing this infor­ma­tion very quick­ly. In the region, there is no counter-orga­ni­za­tion through social media that can respond to this. (Page 25)

■ Youths that are not HDP sym­pa­thiz­ers are lost. They are aware of the fact that there is some­thing in the dis­cours­es of HDP mem­bers that dis­turbs them emo­tion­al­ly, but they do not have the tools to give mean­ing to this or the courage to express it. (Page 26)

■ When one digs deep­er, it becomes obvi­ous that the res­o­lu­tion process is the true rea­son for the loss of AKP votes in the region. All the alle­ga­tions lead to the fact that the ter­rain is lost. The loss of ter­rain, in secu­ri­ty as well as dis­course and pol­i­tics appears as the source for the loss of votes for the AKP and the suc­cess obtained by the HDP. (Page 26)

■ A feel­ing of free­dom, born from the struc­tur­ing inten­si­fied by the HDP and its exper­tise in mas­ter­ing the region con­nects with the notion of a His­tor­i­cal flow, and adds effi­cien­cy to the elec­torate’s ori­en­ta­tion toward the HDP. (Page 26)

■ The town of Urfa is very well struc­tured. The HDP has spread very well the opin­ion it will suc­ceed and this new sit­u­a­tion is tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion by the oth­er (local) actors. (Page 27)

■ It is nec­es­sary to spread the idea that the region will not be bet­ter off with­out the AKP. In order to do this, there is the need to gain the upper hand in the dis­course, in pol­i­cy and in secu­ri­ty. The advice is that, if the Kur­dish elec­torate does not ques­tion what the HDP is, the AKP can­not obtain deci­sive con­quests. (Page 27)

■ The PKK-HDP have invest­ed a seri­ous force through the city halls they won at the last elec­tions. It is notice­able that even Kurds who are tra­di­tion­al­ists from a socio-cul­tur­al point of view, and who have a reli­gious iden­ti­ty, lean toward the HDP. (Page 35)

■ In observ­ing this shift of vote from the AKP toward the HDP, in com­par­ing the pro­por­tions and the valid bul­letins, one sees clear­ly that it does not involve a one-time shift but rather a reg­u­lar and sta­ble one. (Page 53)

■ As for the actors on which the AKP attempts to rise in the region, they are as a major­i­ty actors hold­ing eco­nom­ic shares in the State, who have busi­ness rela­tions or who are iden­ti­fied through the State and who, con­se­quent­ly, need the State’s sup­port. More­over, there is need to ques­tion whether these actors have links or not with their soci­ety and a cul­ture that ren­ders them suit­able for polit­i­cal work aimed at soci­ety at large. (Page 54)

■ For the Kurds, Kobanê has almost become a foun­da­tion myth with a very high sym­bol­ic val­ue. One must not for­get that even before the begin­ning of the clash­es, bod­ies of young Kurds were con­stant­ly arriv­ing from Kobanê, and this sit­u­a­tion is seen as an ele­ment in the anti-Kur­dish pol­i­cy of Turkey. (Page 53)

■ Kobanê which pro­vid­ed a trig­ger for the Kurds’ his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry has served a quick­en­ing of nation­al aware­ness, and the Kurds find them­selves in a process con­sti­tu­tive of a nation. They com­pare them­selves to oth­er nations. More­o­ev­er, in the West, there are expres­sions of “nation­al’ reac­tions toward attacks tar­get­ting the Kurds. (Page 54)

■ Rather than respond­ing to each alle­ga­tion made by the HDP and the orga­ni­za­tion (under­stood to mean the PKK) used for pro­pa­gan­da pur­pos­es, it would be bet­ter to counter-attack, in oth­er words, to go from the defen­sive posi­tion to the attack. ‘Page 55)

■ In the region, local dynam­ics influ­ence the vot­ing rates. Hits (counter-attacks) can be car­ried out in par­tic­u­lar in towns where the orga­ni­za­tion (PKK) has no direct influ­ence. How­ev­er, the essen­tial ques­tion is to inter­vene on the process of nation­al aware­ness, which is still in a devel­op­men­tal phase. (Page 55)

To end the sum­ma­ry, the final words in the report:

■ At this point, the fact of enter­ing a vio­lent envi­ron­ment with the resump­tion of clash­es will have an influ­ence on the elec­toral behav­ior. The mid­dle class and par­tic­u­lar­ly the shop own­ers are dis­turbed by the sit­u­a­tion. A good strat­e­gy based on peace and broth­er­hood, a tem­per­ate dis­course toward the Kurds could move the votes toward the AKP of a sec­tion of the vot­ers who do not want con­fronta­tions, who have eco­nom­ic con­cerns. These are also the results obtained in the inter­view; the fact of estab­lish­ing a bal­ance between the vio­lence and the oper­a­tions, and scenes such as those wit­nessed in Cizre, have a neg­a­tive influ­ence on the shift­ing of votes.

Such then was the state of the reflec­tion of the regime’s occult polit­i­cal advi­sor in 2015…

In 2015, the deci­sion to inter­rupt the “res­o­lu­tion process” which was pre­sent­ed as done for “secu­ri­ty rea­sons” and as a response to “attacks” was indeed already in the works. The will to hold on to pow­er, com­bined with Erdoğan’s already expan­sion­is­tic projects, car­ried the day over the Kur­dish ques­tion. Exit the attempt at con­cil­i­at­ing part of the Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion (on Gülen’s advice). For two rea­sons: Kobanê and the HDP.

The counter attack against the Kur­dish move­ment is already sig­naled in this report. It then began at the mil­i­tary lev­el, the report allows to fol­low the polit­i­cal tracks, with­out know­ing that the “attempt­ed coup d’é­tat” repressed in blood in July 2016 will allow to move on to a pol­i­cy of open repres­sion against the elect­ed mem­bers and the Par­ty, behav­ior ren­dered “accept­able” in the mix-up. We must remind the read­er of the approv­ing role then played by the CHP, main oppo­si­tion par­ty; this was fun­da­men­tal. The anti-Kurd nation­al­ism had come full circle.

So, yes, the “news” these last few days is of the nth wave of counter-attack against the HDP. A wave that will have no more influ­ence on the Euro­pean Union than those of the drown­ing migrants.

And since there was need to talk about it, we might as well pro­vide a bit of con­text, beyond the nec­es­sary indig­na­tion and solidarity.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.

KEDISTAN on EmailKEDISTAN on FacebookKEDISTAN on TwitterKEDISTAN on Youtube
Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.