“Now in Turkey, whoever speaks about peace, the government will attack and jail them.”
“Now in Turkey, whoever speaks about peace, the government will attack and jail them.”
Peoples’ Democratic Party co-chair Pervin Buldan gave an interview to Rudaw:
Rudaw: The HDP only has 14 mayors in government now, all others have been either dismissed or arrested. How do you, as an experienced politician, evaluate this? What does it mean for the status of democracy in Turkey?
These attacks have to be extensively evaluated. Actually, they [Turkish officials] have been carrying out constant attacks against the Kurds for the last 100 years. These attacks are aimed at exterminating our Kurdish nation. These attacks are being carried out by oppressive forces in all four parts of [Greater] Kurdistan in various ways. The fascist AKP-MHP [the ruling Justice and Development Party and its ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party ally] alliance has carried out such attacks extensively in a special way and through novel methods since 2015. They employ various methods like Şark Islahat Planı (East Reform Plan) from 1925, assign General Inspectors and carry out Çöktürme (destruction) attacks. In this regard, the subject is not only the HDP or its municipalities. This anti-Kurd mentality targets anyone who takes a stand for Kurds or speaks about them. Therefore, the AKP has also come out against Rojava [the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria] and the independence referendum in Bashur [the Kurdistan Region of Iraq]. This means [the attacks] are not only associated with us and our party. The motivation is the presence of Kurds around the world and their rights and freedom. Whoever defends these rights and freedom will be a target.
The attack on the [designation of the] trustees is an AKP coup and shows great disrespect to Kurdish will. More than a hundred Kurdish municipalities have been seized since 2016. They attack our municipalities one by one once every two months. They want to teach Kurds a lesson this way, or make them retreat [from politics] and willingly give up their freedom.
They are carried out these attacks not because they are strong, but because they are hopeless. Look now, despite all the attacks and massacres, Kurds still have their determination: they have representatives in the [Turkish] parliament and in the municipalities. They also have their own party, institutions, and media. They have educated people who pursue their art. Their voice and music has spread around the world. The model of Rojava, established by Kurds, is a unique example [of governance] in the world. This fact has made the attackers [including Ankara] mad. This is the only reason for the violent attacks against it [Rojava]. They see that Kurds have achieved their freedom, giving the world hope, and they see it as inappropriate. They respond through hatred. However, Kurds will neither give up their rights and freedom, nor will the AKP prevail in this regard. Neither did Saddam Hussein, who carried out more attacks against Kurds than other countries, nor did [Tansu] Ciller [prime minister of Turkey from 1993-6] who was smart and skilled in this subject, prevail. The AKP will not prevail as well. These attacks encourage us to seek freedom and our struggle. Otherwise, it has no other value.
There are efforts in the Turkish parliament to remove the immunity of some of the HDP lawmakers, including you. How do you evaluate these efforts? Will they succeed?
There has never been any immunity for Kurdish politicians [in Turkey]. We have been practicing politics in this country without any immunity from the state for the last 25-30 years, but have used our political power against state attacks. When it comes to the issue of Kurds – when they achieve their rights and freedom – the rulers will always change their laws and the rules of the game. They revoked the parliamentary membership of the Kurds in 1994 and held our colleagues hostage for 11 years. They also revoked the parliamentary membership of our [HDP] co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag in 2016. They have also held many of our colleagues hostage. Kurdish politicians were detained with their three-year-old child during Eid. They attacked Kurdish cemeteries during Ramadan. There was an understanding [by the Turkish state] which went, “The best Kurds are the dead ones,” but now they say, “Even the dead Kurds are a threat to us.” They see both the dead and living Kurds as a threat. Their hatred towards us is so great and immoral.
They are so scared of us that they believe the only obstacle to their fascism is our power. They can violate the laws again and dismiss Kurds from parliament. However, they can no longer silence 40 million Kurds who are more organized than before. Kurds will defend their rights, freedom and achievements despite their circumstances.
How do you now see your support for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidates in the 2019 local elections? Was it a wise decision? What did you achieve from it?
This has been falsely defined or some people have intentionally misinterpreted its definition. Our strategy on March 31 [last year] was not to support any political party. We did not support the CHP or any other party. We are also not a philanthropic party. Although some so-called politicians, intellectuals, and experts do not understand this or intentionally twist its meaning, our people understand this very well.
We did not support any party, but rather established a strategy. Therefore our people supported this strategy because it was a response to these attacks [against Kurds by the ruling AKP]. We showed the government that we can have an impact on politics [in Turkey] and change the political balance under all circumstances. If the attacks, carried out by the AKP, were carried out by the CHP, we would hold them accountable as well. We have not forgotten what happened historically as well. We fight for the stability of the region and freedom of our people. We want the establishment of unity between nations and languages in the Middle East, but each individual must do this in relationship with their own race and language. Therefore, we do not believe the destruction of [an oppressive] government is wrong and we can support any party in this regard.
You and some other Kurdish parties in Turkey formed an alliance for the March 2019 local election. Does the alliance still exist? What were its achievements? Do you have plans to strengthen this alliance?
Our relations with the Kurdish parties are strategic, rather than lasting for a short time. We want to have permanent unity among all the Kurdish parties. This is a historical requirement for the Kurdish parties in this century. I believe Kurdish unity can ensure peace and stability to the Middle East. In this regard, everyone from different colors and ideologies must work together for the freedom of Kurds. Our alliance with the Kurdish parties, even if we are not satisfied with it, brings us a bright future. We want the alliance to include all Kurdish parties from all four parts of the [Greater] Kurdistan. We are struggling for this and are ready to do anything we have to do to achieve it. All Kurdish parties have to see this truth [that we need unity] as we are going through an existential stage. Each [Kurdish] party and institution have their own various specialities but there should be some principal and mutual points. All the enemies of Kurds are united. Why do Kurds not unite against them? We cannot pass this century without striking an alliance.
There are serious efforts by the Kurdish parties in northeast Syria (Rojava) to be united. How does the HDP evaluate these efforts? How can these unity talks impact the Kurdish issue in the Middle East?
As I mentioned, this cooperation and unity is a necessity for us. We will be glad for any unity efforts because these efforts are aimed at the freedom of our [Kurdish] people. I thank all those people and parties who have contributed to these unity efforts [in Rojava]. I also thank Masoud Barzani [leader of the Kurdistan Region’s ruling Kurdistan Democatic Party (KDP] for his great efforts in this regard. We hope that his efforts continue.
The current increase of attacks against us have resulted from a lack of unity among us. Our enemies are emboldened by our disunity. They want us to fight each other. The policy of creating disunity in the community dates back a thousand years. Our unity will be a blow to these policies, especially the unity which is being formed in Rojava – the hope for a free, fair life for the people of the Middle East. The peoples [of the Middle East] are monitoring our people in Rojava, therefore unity there is the most valuable thing.
Look, the news about the Kurdish unity in Rojava caused concern to all the oppressive and invading forces. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that ‘We will not allow the Kurds to be unified. We will do our best to prevent this from happening.’ This reminds us that we need this unity. We can dissolve their plans through our unity.
The Turkish economy has been badly hit by the spread of COVID-19. As you know, poverty is high in Kurdish areas. You are closely monitoring the situation there. How do you evaluate the status of the economy in the Kurdish areas?
The AKP attacks are taking the whole of Turkey towards a great catastrophe. The economic crisis has not swelled only due to the COVID-19 but also due to the AKP’s war policies. They [state] want to implement the policy of confiscating the properties. This includes the resources of Rojava. They want to give a lesson to Kurds through starving them. In this regard, the attack against Kurds is an economic one as well. Kurds are not harmed by the economic crisis but harmed intentionally [by the government]. We will not be satisfied unless we are free. This is a fact.
As a response to the spread of coronavirus, we had established an aid network through our municipalities. We had launched a campaign to collect aid from our people and share it [with the people in need] but our co-mayors [which aided with the campaign] were detained. The government did not want the Kurds to help each other through collecting aid – we know this very well. We also know the motives behind their attacks and intentions. We will still do our best not to leave our people behind. We exist for the sake of our people.
There was a peace process between Turkish government and the PKK in 2013 but it ended after two years. The HDP played a significant role in bringing both sides together. Is there a chance for another peace process between both sides?
We are a peaceful party. We believe that all social issues must be resolved through peaceful means. We were part of the peace process [in 2013]. During the process, we noticed that the AKP was not seeking peace. They wanted to neutralize us and reinforce its dominance. The AKP does not want the Kurdish issue to be resolved because, had it wanted it solved, it would have already happened. They [AKP] are the dominant force but they took part in the process only to strengthen themselves. Through this, they wanted to eliminate us and impose their permanent existence. After seeing that the process was not going as per their plans, they attacked us and the process. Now in Turkey, whoever speaks about peace, the government will attack and jail them. Therefore, it is clear that a peace process is not possible with this mentality. Today, the biggest obstacle to another peace process is the attitude of the AKP and MHP. There will be no peace unless this mindset is taken down.
Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP]
28 May 2020
Source: Peoples’ Democratic Party