‘Lynching Campaign’ Targets Kurds in Turkey, HDP Offices Attacked

Kurdish National Congress: Erdogan must end violent, racist, and divisive policies

DIYARBAKIR (A.W.)—In a Sept. 8 press release, the Kurdish National Congress (KNK) said that coordinated mob attacks and lynchings on Sept. 6-8 targeted hundreds of Kurdish civilians in Western Turkey, injuring many and killing some. According to the KNK, the Turkish police participated in some of the attacks against the civilians, who have sought safety in the offices of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).

A part of the destruction in Diyabakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)
A part of the destruction in Diyabakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)

“The mobs are organizing themselves across social media, forming groups and attacking homes known to belong to Kurdish families,” read a part of the KNK statement, which claims that attacks on Kurdish homes, civilians, and neighborhoods are still ongoing and that hundreds of thousands of Kurds are currently in direct danger.

Over the past few days, there have also been several attacks on the HDP headquarters across Turkey, according to the KNK. “Attacks on 128 HDP offices have occurred with HDP signs and slogans ripped off and replaced with the Turkish flag. Other offices have been set on fire.”

The KNK has called on the international community to urge Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “end its violent, racist, and divisive policies” in light of the coordinated attacks.

 

Demirtas: We are facing a lynching campaign

HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of orchestrating the mob attacks and of forcing the country into a civil war, reported the BBC.

Another scene from the destruction iN Diyarbakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)
A scene from the destruction in Diyarbakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)

“We [Kurds] are facing a campaign of lynching,” said Demirtas, who accused both President Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of taking “the decision to start this war and intensify it.”

Speaking to reporters on Sept. 8, Demirtas said the ruling regime had manufactured the crisis after losing their majority in the June general election. “We want to stop young people dying and let the public decide the future at the ballot box,” he was quoted as saying by Today’s Zaman.

Garo Paylan, one of three Armenian Members of Parliament in Turkey and an outspoken critic of the ruling regime, said that authorities stood idly by as his party’s (HDP) offices were attacked. “Police are just watching…what’s being broken there is our hope of living together,” Paylan told the BBC.

 

Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Church Suffers Minor Damages

One source from Diyarbakir (Dikranagerd) described the situation as an ongoing war in the city. Speaking to the Armenian Weekly, the source explained how due to the imposed curfew and ongoing violence, residents were forced to remain in their workplaces and homes for days.

Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Church suffered minor damages during clashes between Turkish authorities and Kurdish rebels on Sept. 7
Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Church suffered minor damages during clashes between Turkish authorities and Kurdish rebels on Sept. 7
The largest Armenian church in the Middle East, was left with broken windows and damaged walls as a result of an explosion and gunfire
The largest Armenian church in the Middle East, was left with broken windows and damaged walls as a result of an explosion and gunfire

Meanwhile, Diyarbakir’s Surp Giragos Armenian Church suffered minor damages during clashes between Turkish authorities and Kurdish rebels on Sept. 7, reported Turkey’s Demokrat Haber. Surp Giragos, the largest Armenian church in the Middle East, was left with broken windows and damaged walls as a result of an explosion and gunfire.

Speaking to the Armenian Weekly, Raffi Bedrosyan, one of the organizers of the Surp Giragos Diyarbakir Church Reconstruction Project and a member of the Surp Giragos Armenian Foundation, said that plans to resume Armenian-language classes in September have been postponed indefinitely.

“We were planning on conducting Armenian-language classes in September in Dersim and Diyarbakir,” explained Bedrosyan. “Even though there are no teachers, I had made arrangements for online courses for free. But right now everything is on hold because no one wants to go outside,” he said.

 

Constant Unrest

There has been constant unrest throughout Turkey after a suicide bombing on July 21 in Suruc targeted members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Youth Wing and the Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF). The young activists were giving a press statement on the reconstruction of Kobane, Syria, when the bombing took place.

A scene from the destruction in Diyarbakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)
A scene from the destruction in Diyarbakir (Photo: Dara Melike Günal)

Four days following the Suruc attack, two Turkish police officers were killed by the PKK’s military wing, which claimed the officers had collaborated with ISIS in the Suruc bombing. Since then, more than 100 Turkish police and military officers have died in attacks throughout the country, according to several pro-government Turkish news outlets.

On Aug. 9, Abdullah Demirbaş, the former mayor of the Sur municipality in Diyarbakir, was arrested by Turkish authorities in Diyarbakir. Demirbaş has been an advocate for the rights of minorities in Turkey, and was active in the reconstruction of the Surp Giragos Church. On the occasion of the re-opening of the church, he addressed the Armenians who had gathered there: “Welcome, my brothers and sisters… We are very glad to see you in your own country, your own city.”

On Aug. 18, reports surfaced that the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) had declared self-governance in the districts of Sur and Silvan in the province of Diyarbakir. The following day, the co-mayors of the two districts—Sur co-mayors Seyid Narin and Fatma Barut, and Silvan co-mayors Yuksel Bodakci and Meliksah Teke—as well as Democratic Regions Party (DBP) representative Ali Riza Cicek were detained by police.

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Rupen Janbazian

Rupen Janbazian is the editor of the Armenian Weekly. His writings primarily focus on politics, human rights, community, literature, and Armenian culture. He has reported from Armenia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh), Turkey, Canada, the United States, and Western Armenia. He has served on the local and national executives of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of Canada and Hamazkayin Toronto, and served as the administrator of the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Toronto. Janbazian also taught Armenian History and Creative Writing at the ARS Armenian Private School of Toronto, and has worked on several translations.

5 Comments

  1. Lets not forget the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet, that had both their Istanbul and Ankara office attacked because they had a story where the committed the crime of quoting Erdoğan’s “if we had 400 MPs none of this would be happening” statement.

    Erdoğan and is legion of illerate morons are lashing out at anyone and everyone.

    • I think it was Erdogan who said that he was going to ride the democracy train and then get off. I think he’s getting off the train and derailing it.

      He used the electoral process to get into power, but power is what he wants, not making democracy better in his country. Seeing how his party has been getting less votes, he decided to stir up the hornet’s nest, reignite the fight with the Kurds and attack those in the opposition, including media. It’s the same old story from everywhere. If things are not going well politically, start a conflict to distract and get patriotic/nationalistic support.

      How’s my amateur, arm-chair political analysis?

  2. It’s now open season on minorities in Turkey, things can and will most likely get worse. Either by AKP pushing things further or by nationalists getting out of control.

  3. Democracy- Turkish style. If they get too many votes, then harass then and attack them to reduce their influence. Erdogan, in his out of control desire for powers, has destroyed relations with the Kurds. Even conservative Kurds will be wary of Turkish overtures in the future( which will predictedbly come right after the election).

  4. The Kurds and Armenians need to arm their civilians and band together because everyone else is turning a blind eye to the Turkish brutality no time to just wait to die the Turks will continue and any other targeted group should also ban with you at least you can go down fighting instead of slaughtered like animals you know their mentality you cant out number them but you can out smart them

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