Co-chair Mr. Selahattin Demirtas’ speech on the massacre in Gaziantep

(Delivered at Diyarbakir Airport before Mr. Demirtas went to Gaziantep to visit families of the victims on August 21, 2016) 
This vicious attack is not the first atrocity that we have encountered or that has befallen us in our country. The bombings and mass murders that started with the June 2015 attack on HDP Diyarbakir rally and continued with the Suruç massacre went on in many cities of Turkey, causing many civilian deaths. Unfortunately, these attacks have virtually determined our political and social agendas and life over the last one and a half year.
There also was the massacre at Ankara Train Station. All of these were massacres carried out by similar circles with similar goals and aims and unfortunately with very painful consequences. Much has been said and written about these massacres. Certainly, the pain hurts those closest to the dead the most, and this massacre would go down in history.
But if we are to talk about this massacre, if we are to utter words that would end the pains leading the country into a pool of blood, now is the time. This is the time to condemn that mentality, that darkness which sought to make a massacre out of a wedding ceremony.
The massacre in Suruç took place at an historically critical juncture, in critical days, critical hours. The massacre at the Ankara Train Station took place while the country was in the midst of historically critical processes. In the same vein, just as we were on the brink of another historical development yesterday, the same forces, the same gangs took action. It is necessary to remind that the murder of two young policemen in their sleep in Ceylanpınar in the wake of the Suruç massacre was a well-calculated scenario to trigger a war and it was successful. Unfortunately it was successful.
For over a year now armed clashes in the context of the Kurdish issue have restarted and the country has turned into a pool of blood. On October 10th, 2015, the day KCK was going to declare a ceasefire, which was known all around, they managed to achieve their evil success by carrying out that massacre in Ankara. Calls for ceasefire were lost in the chaos and blood bath of that day. Yesterday, KCK once again issued a declaration indicating an inclination to open a gate to a cease-fire and political solution (for the Kurdish issue). And today in Gaziantep a similar massacre took place. None of these are coincidental and neither the targeted population nor the location is randomly chosen.
First of all I would like to make this sincere call to the government. We have underlined this in relation to Suruç and other massacres as well. There are forces that have embedded themselves within state institutions. This fact revealed itself in a very painful way on the night of 15 July. There are forces embedded within the state, who do not want us to talk to each other, to make peace with each other. They have no allegiance to the state or the people. These circles cause all sorts of security and intelligence weaknesses to play us off against each other. Here is our call to and expectation and request from Mr Prime Minister. You should immediately launch an investigation about all those who caused security and intelligence defects by not properly investigating previous massacres in Suruç and other places.
The massacre in Gaziantep yesterday, too, points to a security and intelligence defect. If we do not go on at these forces properly, their “boldness” and “courage” can go as far as bombarding the parliament with tanks and cannons. They want to create a country where people cannot become partners in joy and grief, partners in wedding and condolence ceremonies. Yes, yesterday they targeted the Kurds in Antep. The people they murdered were HDP members. The wedding was that of an HDP activist.
The message they want to convey is very clear. They are in active search of generating a civil war, chaos out of this situation. I want to make the following call to all my fellow citizens, to all my brothers and sisters: The best way of taking revenge from these mass murderers, these savages, is to lead the country to peace. There can be no bigger revenge.  Guiding the country to peace and calm would be the best response to these villains.
Come, let us all engage in an effort, in work to share, to connect our pains. Let’s first begin to make our weddings together, our funerals together, let’s join our pain and condolences. Moving from there we can join our hearts. And let’s show the whole world, friend and foe, let’s give a message to those who want to play games with us: We can sit and talk to each other within the framework of building an equal, just and free future. Let’s show this to the whole world.
Of course it is not very easy to talk on such a pain-filled day. But this is the answer we give to those who targeted our party members, Kurds in Gaziantep for the possibility of inciting a civil war. There is no food for these jackals in HDP. We will never be involved in any stratagem that might lead our country to civil war, ethnic strife or sectarian war; we will never tolerate anything of that sort.
And I would like to make the following call to all political leaders: Let’s unite in condolence. Let’s stand side by side in the condolence ceremony. This is our funeral; it is not mine or yours. From here I call on all my fellow deputies in Gaziantep; to AKP, CHP, MHP deputies, Come, let’s stand side by side in condolence, let’s connect our pain. Let’s first show those who turned our wedding into a funeral, into a pool of blood, that we are all together in this. The rest will come easily, none of our problems are impossible to solve. Let’s start out saying all the funerals and weddings of this country are ours. If they want to give us a message with this massacre, let’s reverse this message. This is the only way for us to overcome these difficult times.
Our people should claim this pain and funeral, but they should be very vigilant and sensitive about all these provocative games. There will be many who would try to twist the knife in this wound as long as it remains open. Do not pay attention to such calls. No call that would lead you into chaos is a friendly call. No call that would lead you into war, into ethnic war, is a fraternal call. This is our call to our fellow party members, Kurdish people, and our friends.
And our political opponents should know this well: We will not respond to those discriminating against us, those who try to exclude us, with the same language and attitude. It is the task of us all to correct these shortcomings and mistakes, these deficiencies in politics. Now is not the time to act upon motives of revenge, retaliation or blood feud. We wish the greatness of this pain and trauma to transform into a hope for peace, a gate to peace building. This is the way to prevent all that which may follow. Otherwise they will turn our country into a land like Syria, where big massacres take place and people get used to them.
We can criticize each other politically. We can be harsh on each other politically. But let’s keep these within the field of politics. Our rivalry and struggle in politics can continue, but as politicians let’s not make our youth, children and society pay the bill of [our political mistakes]. This will be the HDP’s position.
Let’s condemn once again this barbaric massacre together, and show the whole world that we will not bow down before this barbarism, this army of rapists that calls itself IS, who have nothing to do with Islam or humanity, and who can in no way be related to these lands, this culture, and this faith. Let’s stand side-by-side against IS, against violence. Starting out from here, let’s give a message against IS-made barbarism and terror. You’ll see that the rest will readily follow, if we can do this. Nothing is easier than solving our problems through dialogue and negotiation. Let’s not venture into that which is more difficult, that which makes life harder for us.
Once again I would like to express my condolences to all our people. I invite all to share this common condolence, this common pain. I extend my condolences to our families and all my brothers and sisters who lost their loved ones. May God have mercy on our martyrs. And I wish speedy recovery to all the wounded.

We condemn the inhumane attack in Gaziantep…

As a result of the terror attack targeting the wedding of our Party members in Akdere neighbourhood in Sahinbey, district of Gaziantep, 50 citizens including women and children lost their lives, and more than hundred are wounded. Our sorrow is great.
We condemn and curse the ones who launched this attack, both the forces and ideology behind their actions. We would like to express our condolences for the deceased and wish a fast recovery to the wounded, and our deepest sympathy for the families.
This attack resembles the bombings targeting our party in June 2015 in Adana, Mersin and Diyarbakır, as well as, the attacks on July 20, 2015 in Suruç and October 10, 2015 in Ankara.
Over the years, Gaziantep has gradually become a nest for ISIS. The people of Gaziantep have been living in an environment with ISIS members who amass weapons and organize mass meetings. On some indictments, it was revealed that the ones launching the attack on October 10, 2015 in Ankara had also been planning to attack a Kurdish wedding.  However, the ruling party did not take the necessary steps to prevent these plans despite all the warnings.
It’s quite significant that this attack on the Kurdish wedding happened on the very night Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) announced a declaration of negotiation and resolution with the Turkish government. Notably, the last time the KCK announced it would like to restart peace talks, two suicide bombers attacked the Ankara Train Station on Oct. 10, 2015. Following the Ankara bombing, images of bloody carnage spread around the country, discussion of peace and resolution was prevented, and people were pushed away from hopes of a more stable country.
The ruling party’s hate speech, discriminating and dividing attitude in democratic political arenas furnishes the conditions for such attacks.  Those sparking and encouraging hate and hostility against the Kurds have committed a great sin.
This attack targets those determined and persistent in peace, resolution, and those struggling for democracy, equality, freedom and justice. The attack was planned to disable the spread of peace and success of possible negotiations.
This attack shows the vital importance of a common fight against the barbarism of ISIS. All people who still hold honour and conscience feel pain in their hearts.  We will overcome these difficult days with these people, and the solidarity of those demanding peace.
We would like to express our condolences for the victims of this attack, wish a fast recovery for the wounded, and offer our deepest sympathy for the affected families.
Peoples’ Democratic Party
Central Executive Board
21st August, 2016

Torture and Long Detainment Periods Cannot Be Accepted


In a political climate where those who do not submit to the government are announced as traitors alongside the coupists, torture is openly displayed without the need to hide.  The proud display of torture attests to the state’s entry into the extralegal realm and serves no purpose other than routinization of state violence in Turkey, in whose prisons torture and ill treatment reports never come to end.

The photographs and video footage showing physically abused people in print and visual media after the putting down of July 15 coup attempt was a clear sign of this process.

The unrestrained exhibition of violence illustrates that the aim of the state mechanism is not the exposition of truth through a fair judgment process but rather revenge and consolidation of power.

Torture is a crime that targets human dignity. It is absolutely banned in all basic human rights agreements. The violation of human dignity not only leaves torture victims with great suffering but also has long time effects even on today’s perpetrators and harms social dignity. These lands become more precarious and ruinous with the total disregard of law and human rights, which may protect today’s powerholders in the future.

One of the first undertakings of the State of Emergency was the lengthening of detainment times and people have been precariously held in custody up to 30 days. Following the first statutory decree, ten people including the municipality co-chair have been detained in Diyarbakir’s Dicle province and they are still kept in custody. On August 1, 67 party members from HDP and DBP have been detained in Erzurum Karayazi. The violence of the operation was captured in footage.

Detainment and arrest operations continue full force in many cities including Diyarbakır, Hatay, Adana, Van, Dersim, Muş, Bitlis, İstanbul, İzmir, Mersin, and Ankara. These operations target a wide array of people including co-chairs of municipalities, Education and Science Workers’ Union workers, public workers, and shopkeepers. The statutory decree that was initially passed to prosecute coupists is used to suppress people who have nothing to do with the coup.

While all the judges, prosecutors, and policemen who took charge in the KCK operations that started in 2009 and led to over 8000 arrests have been arrested one after another, Kurdish politicians are once again scapegoated and targeted by the state. In long detainment periods that violate personal security and right to freedom, people are prevented from seeing a lawyer and this gives the go ahead to torture.

The groundless, haphazard, and violent detention of peace and democracy supporters has nothing to do with the efforts against coup attempt. An arbitrary State of Emergency rule that disregards the basic human rights and freedoms is as unlawful as a coup attempt that aims to eliminate constitutional rule.

Because it disregards the people’s will, this wave of detention and torture targeting the elected representatives of the people and those who work in the legitimate political terrain can only contribute to the polarization in the society and remove the possibility of peace to a greater distance. Torture and long detention periods are unlawful and against basic human rights. They must be stopped right away.

Aysel Tuğluk
HDP Vice Co-Chair
August 16, 2016

Our Concerns Grow…

img_20151116_152354.jpgTurkey is rapidly dragged into ambiguity. What we go through everyday makes us long for yesterday. We are deeply concerned and saddened by recent incidents happened today in Elazığ, a few days ago in Van and Diyarbakır. Turkey is led to a state of heavy clashes and deaths everyday step by step.
Continue reading

Urgent Call for Solidarity on the Closure and Storming of the Daily Özgür Gündem

img_20151116_152354.jpgOn August 16, 2016, Erdoğan regime’s attack on the media and press since the July 15 abortive coup took a different turn by the closure of the daily Özgür Gündem on court orders and the storming of its Istanbul headquarters by special operations police. The quarter-of-a-century-long history of Özgür Gündem represents all there is to know about the militant censorship of information and press under the state of emergency lawnessness in the context of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. It also represents a venerable and dedicated press tradition of struggle and solidarity for the right to information and freedom from censorship. Continue reading

Roadmap For Democratization

FB_IMG_1470814751030During the party group meeting on August 9, 2016, our co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has pointed out the following issues while evaluating the Yenikapı rally. Please find below the “Roadmap for Democratization” declared by Mr Demirtaş at the today’s parliamentary group meeting. Continue reading

HDP Co-Chairs Letter to CPT about Mr Ocalan’s condition

The letter by our co chairs to Mr. Mykola Gnatovsky, the president of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) about the condition of Mr Ocalan.



The President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture

Dear Mr. Mykola Gnatovsky,

As you would know, Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. We hereby would like to reiterate that from the outset the HDP has taken a firm stance against this attempted coup, which is unacceptable by any democratic standards. Continue reading