The War Erdoğan Wants

Turkey is increasingly drifting towards civil war. Solidarity is needed now.

Ulas Yunus Tosun / EPA

Turkey is increasingly drifting into a civil war. Led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) provisional government, the politics of violence have escalated since the June 7 general elections.

Today, the peace process between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state has come to a halt and war has started again.

Just within the last month, severe clashes have taken place in many Kurdish cities such as Silopi, Lice, Şemdinli, Silvan, Yüksekova, and Cizre, where the civilian population has been targeted by state forces. Tens of civilians, guerillas, and members of state security forces have died in the ensuing clashes. Since July 24, the AKP interim government has not been attacking ISIS, as it claims to be doing, but the Qandil Mountains in the territory of the Kurdistan Regional Government instead, as well as Kurds, democratic forces, democratic politics, civilians, women, and the opposition as a whole in Turkey.

The Turkish state and the provisional AKP government are implementing all sorts of oppressive measures, such as forbidding entry into and departure from Kurdish cities against which it launches military operations, cutting off all communication including phone and internet lines, and blocking off press and observers to prevent the truth about what is happening on the ground from reaching national and international public attention.

A curfew has been in place in the province of Cizre for the past week, where twenty-one civilians have been killed. The province of Cizre has been under siege for days, where there is serious shortage of food, water, access to basic health services, preventative treatment of the wounded, and burial of those who have been killed by state security forces. Serious concerns regarding fears of civilian massacre in Cizre have been voiced by the elected members of the parliament and civil society organizations.

In this very violent situation, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has also been targeted by AKP spokespersons and pro-AKP mass media. Almost everyday, our party officials and especially our co-chairs are being targeted by those “nationalist and patriotic” people. Many statements of AKP officials have been signaling a call for war against the HDP.

As a result of the AKP’s violent discourse, many of our buildings in several cities have been attacked by groups of people associated with racist and fascist groups. On September 8, they attacked our headquarters in Ankara, setting fire to the building. Our party archives and records were targeted specifically. No one was injured in the attack, but the building is now heavily damaged and unavailable for use.

Until now, over 128 party buildings all over the country have been attacked. Moreover, the police and other security forces of the state did not do their job to prevent the attacks.

We once again want to emphasize that HDP is not a part of these violence-based, war-oriented policies. As HDP, we did not take part in any decision-making process of the war. On the contrary, we are trying to push both PKK and the Turkish state to end this armed conflict. It should be known that it is the AKP who is insisting on war politics and implementing anti-democratic practices all over the country.

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 ceasefire 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 in 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.

We call on all democratic international institutions and forces to take concrete steps against the Turkish state’s violent, anti-democratic actions against its own people and citizens.