Until Hope Appears

A statement against the arrest of HDP leaders and activists by the Turkish regime.

The attempted military coup orchestrated by the former ally of the regime, the Gülen brotherhood, on the night of July 15, 2016 provided the opportunity for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s to undertake a civilian coup attempt to destroy any possibility and ability of opposition to the dictatorial regime it is trying to forge. The arrest on Friday, November 4, of spokespersons, leaders, and members of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a left party from the Kurdish movement, is making a decisive step in the construction of this Islamo-nationalist dictatorship.

The arbitrariness of the state of emergency declared following the attempted coup allowed the “Duce” of Ankara to undertake a restructuring of the entire state apparatus and public service. Tens of thousands have been laid off, dismissed, and arrested under anti-terrorist operations. More than one hundred media outlets (newspapers, television, radio, and magazines) have been banned, and thousands of associations, schools, foundations, universities, and hospitals have been closed.

Beyond potential followers (or not) of the Gülen brotherhood, these extremely repressive measures have also targeted activists and sympathizers of the Kurdish cause and the radical left. More than ten thousand members of leftist unions have been suspended from duty or directly excluded from the public service. Almost all Kurdish and Turkish leftist media have been banned.

The repression of democratic forces in particular has increased during the last week. Those fighting against the casualization of higher education and for “universities for peace” who signed the petition protesting the war against the Kurdish people have been dismissed; the lead writers and cartoonists of the largest daily newspaper of the leftist opposition, Cumhuriyet, were placed in custody after searches of their homes; and the mayors of the largest Kurdish city, Diyarbakir, were arrested, accused of being members of “the terrorist organization PKK.” Just as was the case recently for twenty other cities in the Kurdish region, new pro-government administrators have been appointed to head the municipality of Diyarbakir.

But the arrests, following home searches, of the HDP leadership — who in the June 2015 general election received 13.1 percent of the vote, an unexpected success totally destabilizing Erdoğan’s party, the AKP — is a decisive step in the annihilation of democracy by the dictatorship. This unacceptable offense of denying the vote of the six million people [who voted for HDP] is a consequence of the war waged by the Turkish state against the aspiration to self-determination of the Kurdish people in Turkey and Syria.

We, revolutionary Marxists in Turkey, having called at the two elections of June 7 and November 1, 2015 to vote for this party representing the hopes for peace, justice, and democracy, strongly condemn the confiscation of the votes of millions of Kurds, women, workers, youth, environmentalists, LGBTI activists, ethnic and religious minorities, and democrats.

Faced with this terrible storm which has already dangerously weakened the foundation for a common life and solidarity among peoples of Turkey, our last defense remains an unremitting fight for peace, freedom, democracy, and secularism.

“Even in times when you are most pessimistic, look not at the tips of your toes but to the horizon, you will see hope, certainly. If you do not see it, look again, keep looking until hope appears,” said Selahattin Demirtaş, cochair of the HDP who is now being held in prison by the regime.

Yes, until hope appears . . .