News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF) Demirtaş has given a speech to a group of BDP MP’s in Ankara in which he addressed a number of topics, including the anniversary of the execution of Sayid Riza, the condition of political prisoners, events in Rojava, and the precarious state of the peace talks more generally.
Either the Prime Minister has Miscalculated or He is Bad at Math
Demirtaş began by remembering the life of Ahmet Kaya and the tragic events that led to his death in exile after Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan claimed it was the same individuals who attacked Kaya who attacked his party in Gezi, saying “Ahmet Kaya was not the first or the last of similar tragedies in this country. Now these artists are being talked about who for many years lived in exile and with longing for their homeland, and of course when we we talk about artists who could not come to their homeland for 37 years these are tragedies. And of course it a merit to feel ashamed about the experience of such tragedies and to apologize. All of this was necessary at one time. Ahmet Kaya and people like him, and like everyone in this country who made art with honor, and like everyone who paid the price for democracy in this country – they all have apologies coming from this state. The Prime Minister is either miscalculating or he is bad at math. He is asking how those who exiled people for 37 years are going to account for this. But of these years 12 passed during your term. He did not understand what kind of account this was. You are accountable for 1 in 3.”
Demirtaş went on to point out that there have been thousands of Ahmet Kayas and Şivan Perwers in the last 12 years, asking “Can Koma Berxwedan give a concert in Amed (Diyarbakir) square? That this this is a part of the sincerity test. Ahmet Kaya died in exile but there are tens of thousands from Kurdistan such as journalists and intellectuals who are living through exile during your term. For example can the journalists Baki Gül, Erdal Er, Cahit Mevran, Günay Aslan return home? There are families there that have had children and have not been able to come back to their villages for 30 years. If your heart burns for Ahmet Kaya why was Aram Tigran’s request [to be buried in Diyarbakir] not fulfilled?”
An Apology That Ignores Seyid Riza?
Demirtaş also brought up the recent anniversary of the execution of Seyid Riza by the Turkish State, asking “if we are going to speak about what happened in Dersim, if we are going to speak about the pain that was experienced in Dersim, we cannot understand what happened in Dersim without talking about what happened to Seyid Riza and that personifies the action taken against Alevis and Kurds in Dersim. Dersim is one of the historical wounds. We have met many times in the parliament about Seyid Riza. We attempted many times to at the very least have the location of his grave determined and disclosed and to get an apology in the name of the state. There has not been a sound from parliament on the matter. All of this during the time that the AKP has been in power. Can there be an apology while ignoring Seyid Riza? Otherwise this is nothing more than an instrumentalization of the pain and tragedy they have experienced. This is the Seyid Riza problem. The problem around the execution of Seyid Riza and his companions is just of the problems for which it is necessary to apologize and to make an honorable restitution. If you want to bring about a rapprochement and an opening with Alevis this is an important opportunity. It is important that you name your grandchildren Ali, however this is not a solution to the problem of Alevis.
More Than 300 Political Prisoners Transferred Thousands of Kilometers Away
Demirtaş reminded his audience that as the Prime Minister came to visit Diyarbakir many who living in distant prisons, saying “This society is not a stupid society. If while crying in Diyarbakir about those in exile you are sending 300 imitates thousands of kilometers away there is something wrong and defective in your understanding of exile. On the one hand you are saying let the exiles return and on the other hand you are exiling by your own volition people you have put into prison. We are waiting for an explanation from the Justice Ministry. What was the need? What are you hoping to achieve? Is not this amount of political prisoners sufficient? What are you expecting to achieve with new operations and new arrests? When the Prime Minister claimed that he would empty the prisons is this what he meant? Are you going to carry out this peace process with new political maneuvers?
Demirtaş continued on the topic of political prisoners, bringing up the fate of ill inmates in particular, some of whom are on the brink of death. On the subject Demirtaş said “Because they are Kurdish, because they spoke about Kurdistan they were arrested. While using the same words that they used while in Diyarbakir you are sending them into exile. Especially from the perspective of the sick prisoners there is a potential for consequences that will create an incredible amount of tension. It is expected that the 160 terminally ill prisoners will be released. The prisons are this community’s most sensitive places. If something concrete concerning the prisons is not done nothing will progress. It is as if all the words of these speeches were written in water. If bodies begin to come out of the prisons the hope that you tried to create will shatter into pieces”
Only The Spirit of Youth Can Create A Free Future
Demirtaş also brought up the BDP Youth Congress to be held in Diyarbakir at the end of this month, and stressed the importance of youth both in the Kurdish struggle and in the creation of a new future, saying “it is only possible to create a free future with the spirit of youth.” He went to recall how during the darkest times of the past it was the “loyalty” and “resistance” of the youth that had rescued the movement, and compared those times to the situation today, commenting “We are living through times that resemble those. If the youth who are resisting everywhere can unite with the Kurdish youth then we can be a new model for the peoples of the Middle East. right now Turkey has been overtaken by 300 years of capitalist modernity and has been turned into a country that fits the classic neoliberal model.”
He went to stress that it was the power of the youth that accounted for the government’s recent measures against students and other young people, and the need to support these young people in their struggles, saying “for this reason the stance of the youth is very important. This is the reason that underlies the recent attacks on young people. This is the reason for the attacks in Sivas and in ODTU. It has if the attacks on the university were all being directed by one person.”
Massacres in Rojava
Demirtaş warned about the declaration of a government by the Islamic State or Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and al-Qaeda affiliate, in Rakka. He went on to ask why the Turkish state did not condemn such groups, saying “There is no one who expresses their concern about this. What are they against? They come out against the founding of inclusive parliments. This is the mentality here, they won’t allow for a fait accompli but on the other hand they allow for those who say ‘women cannot sit on chairs.’ If Kurds say that ‘Allah is one’ they will say he doesn’t exist. They are operating with this many historical fears. Have they [Rojava Kurds] seized others’ property and possessions? They said they want to administer their own lands and themselves. Now they are concerned about this. Yet those flying in from Afghanistan, England and Baghdan and blowing off heads and murdering women and children do not awake their concern. They are being given money, they are allowing them to receive training in their camps.It is easy to pontificate in Diyabakir. It is easy to speak about democracy into a microphone, but it is difficult to account for the execution of three people on the border with Rojava…”