News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
Erdoğan’s recent remarks about ongoing protests in Lice resemble those made by former Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Çiller in 1993 before she gave permission for a massacre by the Turkish army that largely destroyed the town and killed scores of civilians, says an article in Özgür Gündem.
In recent remarks Erdoğan called the protesters, who are attempting to prevent the construction of a new military road, “bandits,” “terrorists” and “highway robbers.” Following Erdoğan’s remarks the Turkish army declared “we will find you and and exterminate you” before launching an assault on the town. Following the assault, in which at least one protester was seriously injured, a call came to ‘increase the resistance’ in Lice.
Protesters and Kurdish politicians have called on Erdoğan to halt base construction in the region and take concrete steps toward instituting a legal framework for the peace process, however no such steps have been taken to date. In response to the demands of the people in Kurdistan the AKP have shown aggression and oppression. In spite of these dirty policies the people have not taken a step backward and are growing the resistance even more.
The Protesters in the district of Lice in Diyarbakir Province has now entered its 14th day. Soldiers once again attacked the people yesterday advanced from the hamlet of Cellik, where they are based, with armored cars and water-cannons and firing tear gas and live ammunition. Clashes continued until late in the night and a young protester was brought to the hospital after being seriously injured when a tear gas canister struck him in the head. A soldier was also reported to have been injured. Following hours of clashes the soldiers withdrew.
Lice Co-Mayor Harun Erkuş announced that 20 protesters have been injured to date, saying “despite the presence of emergency services in the area no one came to help. Most of the injured have been treated in neighboring villages.” Erkuş went on to stress that the protesters were civilians and were demanding peace, saying “when there is a legal foundation for peace and our rights are guaranteed by a law then we won’t advance on the military bases.”
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the Lice protesters in remarks he made a speech in Ankara, making no connection between the construction of military bases and the peace process. Following Erdoğan’s remarks, in which he referred to the protesters as “bandits,” “terrorists” and “highway robbers,” the army released similar statements. The Turkish Air Force has also made a show of force, scrambling a large amount of military jets from its air-base in Diyarbakir.
HDP Amed (Diyarbakir) MP Nursel Aydoğan and HDP co-President Sebahat Tuncel called on the government to be sincere as regards the peace process. Aydoğan, calling work towards peace valuable and meaningful, said that the resistance in Lice was one more expression of the will of the Kurdish people who have been struggling for their rights for 30 years. Aydoğan went on to say that the construction of military bases was against the spirit of a solution to the conflict, and said that if the government did not act sincerely then protesters could increase.
HDP co-president Sebahat Tuncel said that Kurds were resisting against AKP policies in Lice and that the protests came in response to delays in the peace process. Tuncel, addressing the AKP government, said “if the government is sincere about the peace process then the first thing to do is announce the end of base construction and military operations.” Tuncel went on to say that in the same way that the Kurdish movement and in particular the Kurdish popular leader Abdullah Öcalan have shown their sincerity toward the peace process, the government now needed to take steps in the same manner.