Over the past few weeks, violence in Turkey has escalated to extreme levels. While the Turkish government has increased its attacks on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş (pictured above), is desperately calling for an end to the bloodshed.
HDP: A Peace Broker
For decades, the PKK and the Turkish government have fought a bloody civil war. It wasn’t until 2013 that a cease fire was called, putting an end to the armed conflict.
With the help of the pro-Kurdish HDP, over the past two years the outlawed PKK has taken steps towards laying down its arms. Most recently, the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, released a statement via the HDP, calling for a permanent political solution in place of war.
State Violence in Turkey
The fragile cease fire held for two years, but erupted after a suicide bomber killed over 30 Kurdish youth in Suruç, a Kurdish-majority town near Turkey’s border with Syria.
The PKK blamed Turkish government for not protecting the Kurdish youth, and the Turkish government, feeling threatened, retaliated with airstrikes on PKK positions in Iraq.
Some Turkish government officials– including the Turkish president and prime minister– have accused the HDP of cooperating with the PKK in these violent attacks against the Turkish government. Consequently, violent attacks against the HDP have escalated over the past few weeks, with over 120 HDP district offices across the country having been vandalized.
Most recently, the Kurdish-majority city of Cizre has had a curfew imposed by the Turkish government, and has been closed off to journalists and politicians. The leaders of the HDP have made repeated attempts to peacefully enter Cizre, all of which have been repelled by the Turkish government.
Message to the International Community
In response to these violent attacks, the pro-Kurdish HDP has release the following statement, calling on the international community to put an end to the violence in Turkey.
In spite of these adverse developments, we call on all international communities, civil society organizations and the international media for solidarity and support to bring about an immediate cease-fire and the commencement of peace talks.
Our call is also one for urgent action against increasing state violence, the violation of human rights and anti-democratic practices and measures ins Kurdish cities as well as the cities in the western regions of the country.
We now need the support of the international public more than ever in order to achieve the realization of a lasting peace in the Middle East, Turkey and Kurdistan. In this context we invite all of our friends, political parties, associations, networks, civil society organizations and all peace-loving forces to act in solidarity with us.
The HDP also released a public information file documenting the recent crisis in Turkey. You can view the PDF below.Read more at the HDP website]