Parts of Selahattin Demirtaş’s Speech (From Med Nûçe TV)

demirtas1The conflict in Kobanê is not solely between two parties but between two ideologies at clash which concerns the international players too. ISIS targeted Kobanê as they predicted an easy siege. They aimed to bring down the regime here and attack the other cantons. Within all this bloodshed, there is an effort to build an alternative governing model here. The forces backing ISIS deemed it utmost important to bring down the Rojava Revolution and this alternative governing model. Why did the international coalition initiate the airstrikes? The coalition partners were effective in empowering ISIS to begin with. They realized if Kobanê falls, they will be next. The peoples of the world, especially the Kurds, forced them to take action.

What the Kurds have faced over the last century forced them to make less mistakes. ISIS reminded them of immediate danger again. The world turned its attention to the Kurds. People saw a nation here defending its democratic model in all this bloodshed. This coverage provided the Kurds the opportunity to be acknowledged for their model. This coverage provided the Kurds the opportunity to be acknowledged for their model. While ISIS sell women off the streets, it is women who lead the fight in Kobanê.

Kurds are a stateless nation. It is very challenging to keep up a fight without the diplomatic powers of an established state. If you pay attention, you will notice that none of the states in the region use their diplomatic power in favor of the Kurds. HDP will be setting up offices across Europe in the coming days to give rise for the diplomacy of the oppressed masses.

Turkey is a country of 77 million people. Rojava’da cantons would only make up three cities in Turkey. In those 3 cantons there are 6 regional prime ministers. On the other hand, there is this one man here with a 1000-roomed palace. Wouldn’t the system in Rojava bother you if you were that one man? They see the excitement in a Rojava. Soon, people in Turkey will begin to demand the same system here.

As we have an ongoing peace process, they could not attack Rojava directly. So they supported proxies such as Al-Nusra and ISIS. The Kurds have been under occupation for a century in Syria in their motherland. No one discusses the Syrian occupation in Rojava. Now when the Americans initiate the airstrikes against ISIS, many claim that the Kurds called the imperialists to help. The Kurds knew the degree of IS massacre from Sinjar. IS doesn’t fight for Islam and the Kurds are fighting against a massacre.

I told the prime minister that “Kobanê will not fall either way. But we hope that Turkey becomes a part of it. Support Kobanê. A clear support for Kobanê would only support the process. The US came to the rescue from overseas as Turkey failed her brothers. None of us demanded military intervention. We just asked for a humanitarian corridor and Turkey to be a gateway to Kobanê. In that case, everyone would say “Turkey has taken a very genuine step. The day we assembled our CEC we heard the news that Mürşitpınar might fall. This would suggest a full scale siege of Kobanê. The siege would be a massacre. The made the call for action only after we confirmed that Turkey will give no support. HDP made a call which was a cry for help. None of predicted that anyone would get hurt on the streets. Clear provocations targeting our demonstrations aimed to sabotage the movement of the masses. The first bullet was fired by a police officer in Varto. 51 people lost their lives, of whom 36 were our supporters. The government targeted HDP and myself in the face of these events. They turned this issue into political propaganda.

We continue to strive for dialogue and will meet with Mr. Akdogan on Monday. Our board hopes to meet Mr. Ocalan within a week. We still hope to bring the peace process to the point of formal negotiations. However, the government ceased the dialogue. The process brings together both dialogue and negotiations. Two different approaches are in clash here. The peace process has its ups and downs as we do not see eye to eye on this issue. And that’s why we need dialogue. We fail to achieve a collective state perspective on this issue. The state denies to recognize Kurds as a political entity. We agree that public safety is of utmost concern. However, that cannot be sustained by a police state but through democracy.

The only alternative against the process is war. That is why we hold off of speaking negatively about the process. On the other hand, we understand the concerns of our peoples. We should speed up the process, not try to bring it down. Many questions arise as the process is not transparent enough. Mr. Ocalan states the negotiations should not take years. Mr. Ocalan declared that he may convene a disarmament congress by March as the government still fails to provide a roadmap.

The latest steps taken by the gov’t such as the legislation passed and the committee setup for talks with Mr. Ocalan are positive. I agree that they are not enough but it is out duty to pressure the government to do more and build peace in our country.

Our views on women and labor and the environment are different from that of the government. In that case, we need self-criticism too. We need to do a much better job with building economic models. HDP might be a new party but it is the successor of a 40-year experience. We are the governing party in our region and we should be hold accountable for that. If we have seasonal workers, we are to blame. We need to do a better job with practicing democracy. For as long as we fail to do so, we will not be able to structure a process. AKP will not bring democracy to or end poverty in this country. But if we prevail, then we have a real shot at building peace from the bottom to the top across our country.

The Alevi issue is handled as a subsidiary of the Kurdish issue and that is not right. The government knows the demands of the Alevis. The gov’t aims to control the Alevis. It is everyone but the Alevis who discuss this issue in media. The Alevis should be recognized and the mandatory religious curriculum should be abolished. Cemevis must be recognized religious institutions and Alevi foundations’ belongings should be returned immediately. The Dersim Masacre should be used as a leverage against the main opposition. The people of Dersim demand their rights. The people of Dersim do not care for this issue being used for anti-propaganda against the CHP. Issue an official apology.

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