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Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş, for­mer Co-Pres­i­dent of the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP), impris­oned for the past 6 years in Edirne Prison, pub­lished a text ques­tion­ing the attack com­mit­ted on Sun­day Novem­ber 13 2022 on Istik­lal Avenue, in the much-fre­quent­ed Tak­sim neigh­bor­hood, an attack that result­ed in 81 peo­ple being wound­ed and 6 loss­es of life.


On Sun­day, a sav­age mas­sacre occurred on Istik­lal avenue that pro­found­ly sad­dened all of us. Per­haps we shall nev­er know the true goals of this ter­ror­ist attack, nor its per­pe­tra­tors, nor the forces behind them. As is the case of the thou­sands of bru­tal mas­sacres in the world, this ter­ror­ist attack will be for­got­ten, lost in the dark depths of politics.

My legal and polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence has taught me the fol­low­ing : “Con­cen­trate on the hid­den truth, not on what is shown to you!”

We can­not con­sid­er this bru­tal mas­sacre inde­pen­dent­ly from his­tor­i­cal­ly impor­tant elec­tions sched­uled for 2023, nor from the pow­er wars, both region­al and world-wide, nor from the clash­es between inter­nal pow­er pol­i­tics in Turkey. Each of these would call for mul­ti­di­men­sion­al analyses.

When I saw this infor­ma­tion on tele­vi­sion, my mem­o­ry reeled back to the recent past.

With­out accus­ing any­one what­so­ev­er, with­out cast­ing sus­pi­cion on any­one, I would sim­ply like to ques­tion. Per­haps the author­i­ties will pro­vide sat­is­fac­to­ry answers and we will all be relieved.

Date: March 21 2022, Place : Yük­seko­va (Hakkari). Dur­ing the con­trol of a police vehi­cle, 53 kilos of explo­sives are found.

On the evening of the same day, con­cern­ing this grave inci­dent, the min­is­ter of the inte­ri­or Süley­man Soy­lu makes an extreme­ly laid-back dec­la­ra­tion, sim­pli­fy­ing the sit­u­a­tion and mud­dy­ing the waters. In a tele­vised pro­gram I watched, he says the fol­low­ing about this civ­il ser­vant caught with 52 kilos of explo­sives “He’s very much of an embar­rass­ment, a cable thief”, thus triv­i­al­iz­ing the inci­dent and sig­nal­ing it as closed. 1

I think that the one who had this police­man arrest­ed at the exit of Yük­seko­va was from anoth­er pow­er cen­ter with­in the State. Or, per­haps, because the for­mer had got­ten involved in the mat­ter, “they were forced to arrest him”.

There is obvi­ous­ly some­thing there that quick­ens one’s curios­i­ty. Now, I am only ask­ing questions:

1 — Who pro­vid­ed this police­man with 52 kilos of explo­sives ? Why has there still not been a dec­la­ra­tion on this topic?

2 — Who was to receive the 52 kilos of explo­sives in Istan­bul? Why has there still not been a dec­la­ra­tion about this?

3 — Why was the police­man not fol­lowed instead, then arrest­ed in Istan­bul along with the recipient ?

4 — Why did Soy­lu reveal the infor­ma­tion about the oper­a­tion on the very same evening as the event? Was the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the Istan­bul recip­i­ents tak­ing flight not tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion?  Or, pre­cise­ly, was their escape intended ?

5 — Apart from the seized 52 kilos of explo­sives, were there oth­er explo­sives that were not seized and brought to Istan­bul in the same manner?

6 — To whom did the bomb belong that explod­ed at Istiklal ?

As I said, I’m only asking.

And I continue.

7. In land­ing in Istan­bul with the dust still under his feet, why did Süley­man Soy­lu hur­ried­ly reveal the source of the bomb that had explod­ed at Istik­lal, while he was in Idlib, as well as Kobanê and Afrin? Or was he intent on prepar­ing the infra­struc­ture for a trans-bor­der oper­a­tion in Syr­ia pri­or to the elections ?

8 — Who is tru­ly this per­son arrest­ed as the bomber, pre­sent­ed as “hav­ing received train­ing in intel­li­gence”, and who behaved as if lit­er­al­ly say­ing “I’m here, arrest me”; and who, once arrest­ed looked like a lost duck­ing dressed in a t‑shirt read­ing “New York” and then photographed?


9 — On whose behalf did she com­mit this attack?

Only inde­pen­dent judi­cia­ry author­i­ties and impar­tial inves­tiga­tive author­i­ties can reveal the answers to these ques­tions. Of course, if one can find these author­i­ties in Turkey…

It is essen­tial that the truth be known in all its aspects in order to reveal clear­ly all the obscure forces wish­ing to ben­e­fit from the polit­i­cal con­se­quences of this bru­tal massacre.

Final­ly, let’s end with two questions;

10 — Could such a bru­tal attack be per­pe­trat­ed in the heart of Istik­lal these days, with­out State support ?

11 — So as not to have to say “We were deceived” in the future, does Pres­i­dent Erdoğan expe­ri­ence the need to study  under a micro­scope the method, the tim­ing, and the details of this ter­ror­ist attack ?

Or does he find that the dec­la­ra­tions that fol­lowed it were sufficient?

Sela­hat­tin Demirtaş
Edirne Prison

Imme­di­ate­ly after the attack, the Istik­lal avenue was dec­o­rat­ed with 1200 Turk­ish flags…

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

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