Emancipatory Transformations: engaging radical democracy in Kurdistan workshop
Brighton, 4 November 2016
We strongly protest the illegal detention of the two HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, alongside that of 11 other HDP MPs: Sirri Sureyya Onder, Ziya Pir, Ferhat Encü, Leyla Birlik, Mehmet Ali Aslan, Nursel Aydoğan, Gulser Yildirim, Idris Baluken, Abdullah Zeydan, Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan Hakkari, İmam Taşçıer, Pervin Buldan.
This crackdown on HDP MPs is nothing short of an unlawful hijacking of democratically elected HDP parliamentarians. It is another politically motivated illegal action by the Erdoğan regime to undermine any form of opposition, dissent and democracy in Turkey today.
This recent crack down follows the detention and arrest of the two co-mayors of Amed (Diyarbakir) Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı last week. As of today, around 20 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed. On 11 September 2016, the central government appointed deputy governors as trustees to take over 28 municipalities.
We protest the Turkish regime’s attempts at destroying local forms of governance which are outstanding democratic structures with transparent processes, and are very effective in providing welfare, access to resources and required infrastructure to their populations, despite the multiple challenges imposed on them.
We also strongly protest the targeting of Kurdish politicians who have been involved for many years in trying to find a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict while defending the rights of the Kurdish minority and expansion of democratic freedom in Turkey. We also condemn the targeting of Kurdish women’s rights activists who have been at the forefront of addressing gender-based inequalities within Turkey more broadly as well as within Kurdish communities more specifically.
We further condemn the closing down of around 170 media outlets across Turkey, specifically Kurdish and left newspapers, radio and TV stations, and the detention and arrest of hundreds of journalists as well as lawyers who were representing Kurdish activists or journalists. We also condemn the Turkish military’s incursion into Kurdish towns, including the most recent intrusion into Silopi.
We urge the government of Turkey to release the HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag, all other detained HDP MPs, the co-mayors of Amed (Diyarbakir) Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı with immediate effect, as well as releasing all other co-mayors, municipal representatives, and journalists. We also request the immediate release of all people who protested the detention of their co-mayors and MPs. We demand that the manufactured charges against all of them must be dropped immediately.
We are asking the British Government and the European Parliament to protest in the strongest manner this most recent purge.