It is a well-known fact that nearly 5000 Kurdish politicians including 6 parliamentarians, 27 mayors, dozens of members of city council and executive members of BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) have been arrested. Occasional police operations are continuing since 14 April 2009. These coordinated operations are transformed to political genocide against Kurds. Unfortunately, the police operations have been widened to Kurdish lawyers and journalists. 41 lawyers have been held in prison since 25/11/2011. Following this another police operation was launched against Kurdish journalists. The homes and offices of 36 journalists were subject to coordinated raids by police on 20/12/2011. 36 journalists have been held in prison along with the lawyers. In total more than 70 Kurdish journalists have been in prison since April 2009.
It is abundantly clear that these police operations against Kurds are being orchestrated by the AKP Government. All the police raids were launched immediately after Prime Minister Erdogan made inflammatory speeches attacking Kurdish politicians. In particular after the last amendments to the judicial system under the name of “judicial reforms”, judges and prosecutors have followed the lead of the AKP Government. Despite the fact that this has been heavily criticized by numerous observers, the AKP Government has increased its pressure step by step against media executives. In fact the majority of media organizations in Turkey are now under the control of AKP Government. We have experienced this new reality in connection with the Uludere Massacre of 28 December 2011 when 35 Kurdish villagers were killed by the Turkish F-16 bombardment ever though the true identity of the victims had been confirmed by border security units before the bombardment took place. The AKP Government is continuing to shield those responsible for the massacre. Furthermore, the government is preventing any detailed news appearing on TV or in the newspapers about the Uludere Massacre.
Today, a new police operation has been launched against the Peace and Democracy Party and civil society organisations such as the Human Rights Association (IHD), the Trade Union of Public Workers (KESK). The Deputy co-chair and former MP for Van City, Ms. Fatma KURTULAN, deputy co-chair and journalist, Ms. Filiz KOÇALI, former chair of DEHAP, Mr. Tuncer BAKIRHAN, Members of Party Assembly, Mr. Senar ABI, Ms. Yildiz AKTAS and Ms. Gülistan BALKAS, journalist Murat CIFTCI and at least 35 more BDP members have been taken into custody during ongoing police raids. Two days ago, another police operation was launched against municipalities and provinces governed by the BDP. Furthermore, some police raids were carried out without search warrants from the court. Some police waved the Turkish flag as they raided BDP buildings. At the moment is too unclear to establish exactly how many Kurdish officials and activists are held in prison because of the relentless wave of arrests initiated by the AKP Government.
We are saddened that we must inform you that Turkey seems to be sliding into chaos as a result of the AKP Government’s dictatorial regime. It is not only Kurdish politicians, but also Turkish democrats, lawyers, journalists, thousands of students and civil society organization members who are now jailed without any legitimate basis by the AKP Government. It is especially the Anti-Terror Law, Turkish Criminal Code and Law of Criminal Procedure that allow prosecutors to arrest Kurds and opposition activists without bringing forward any evidence. It is clear that none of BDP members can be accused as taking part in violence. Delivering speeches on the theme of Kurdish Identity and attending legitimate open meetings are defined as terrorist actions by the Turkish judicial system. The Special Authorized Courts continue the procedure of the illegitimate state security court. As a result thousands of Kurds are being held in prison. The AKP Government is trying to criminalize the BDP and its members by these arrests. Nevertheless, the AKP Government continues to receive very strong support from member states of the European Union and the United States.
Kurdish people and Turkish democrats are going to continue to resist these authoritarian police operations and AKP Government’s dictatorial rule. We know that the AKP Government is seeking to suppress and intimidate the progressive Kurdish democratic movement. But these pressures will not intimidate our party or the Kurdish people.
As a result of these developments, the BDP and the Kurdish people intend to re-organize themselves against the AKP’s descent into barbarism. We strongly call on the international public, all relevant organizations and pro-democracy institutions to resist the AKP Government’s political massacres and authoritarian policies. We stress that history of peoples’ struggle for freedom and the Kurdish people will never forget anyone who makes a contribution for real democracy in Turkey and shows solidarity with the Kurdish people.
Mr. Selahattin DEMIRTAS Ms. Gültan KISANAK
Co-president of BDP Co-president of BDP