DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (A.W.)—Following the June general elections during which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) secured 10 percent less votes than in previous elections, the AKP—after a decade of peace negotiations—broke the ceasefire and declared war on the Kurds.
The AKP had garnered 49.95 percent of the votes in the 2011 general elections; that figure fell to 40.9 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the minority pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) earned 13 percent, placing it above the 10 percent threshold it needed to enter the Turkish Parliament.
The AKP government had intended to change the political structure of the government from a parliamentary system to an executive presidential one, like that of the U.S. Having failed to secure enough seats to implement this plan, they called for snap elections and declared war on the Kurds.
In September, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech in which he referred to the state of war in the country: “If a party had managed to secure 400 deputies or a number that could change the constitution, the situation today would have been very different.” With these words, Erdogan essentially openly stated his justification for the war.
This war, although it has been raging all over the Kurdish areas, has targeted Kurdish regions where the HDP received more than 80 percent of the vote in June. These areas include Batman, Sirnak, Hakkari, Cizre, Silopi, Lice, and Nusaybin. According to some commentators, the government targeted the population in these areas and caused them to flee, in the hopes that it would affect the voter turnout in the Nov. 1 snap elections in these areas.
Government forces have forcibly removed the population from around areas they are stationed at. Today, authorities have forcefully emptied the Sur district of Diyarbakir (the part of the city inside the city walls). Many houses have been set on fire. Intense fighting is still ongoing in Sur; on Oct. 10, two civilians were reportedly killed there.
According to an official from the Human Rights Association, around 300 civilians have been killed since June. This number does not include those killed at the peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10.
The rally, which was organized by various non-governmental organizations in Ankara, was targeted by 2 bombs. At least 128 activists were killed, and around 400 were wounded, according to the latest estimates by the HDP.
For detailed reports on the Ankara attacks, see “Ankara Explosions Kill at Least 97 at HDP-Supported Peace Rally,” and “HDP Calls on International Community to Take ‘Firm Stance’ against AKP.”
Gulisor Akkum filed this report from Diyarbalkir.
Either by design or by natural progression, it is a good thing Kurds by now are too numerous to be subjected to the standard Turk method of dealing with “problems”: Genocide. Kurds are immune to genocide at this juncture.
I am well aware that too many Kurds participated in the Armenian Genocide, abducting our young women and children, stealing our property, living in the houses of those they helped murder…..
But I am also aware that many Kurd leaders feel genuinely ashamed and sorry for what their ancestors did to my ancestors.
It is by no means anywhere enough to atone for what was done, but it is a start.
Nevertheless, for myself, I wish for Kurds to have their own country so they can live there in peace as Kurds.
I am quite aware of what that implies vis-à-vis Western Armenia: but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
I’d much rather have Kurdistan on RoA’s Western border than Turkey.
For all the harm Kurds have done to our people, they are at least indigenous to these parts (….but not Western Armenia).
They really have no history being genocidal: maybe misguided and opportunistic. But not genocidal.
Turks living on our lands are descendants of Turkic nomads from Uyguristan.
We can be neighbors with Kurds, but so far neither Turks of Caucasus not Turks of Asia Minor have shown any inclination to live in peace with the indigenous peoples of the lands they illegally occupy.
Quite the opposite.
Avery. I will limit my response to just one aspect of your comment. IF we have not ultimately given up on liberating Western Armenia, do you really think that supporting Kurds’ takeover of it as official Kurdistan would help our efforts or would it indeed cement such ambitions as dead forever? You don’t think that a people without a country would rush to relinquish territories to us AS SOON as they establish their independent state, do you?