Demirtas – Moscow Visit

Co-Chair of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş departed on Dec. 22 for a five-day visit to the Russian capital city of Moscow where heparticipated in a conference on Kurds and held talks on regional conflicts.

Demirtaş was accompanied by Nazmi Gür, the deputy co-leader of the HDP in charge of external affairs.

They met Government officials, Foreign Ministry, members of the Russian Parliament, political parties, civil society organizations and media outlets.

While meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Friday, Demirtas exchanged views on recent developments in the Middle East, including the Islamic State (IS).

According to a written statement released by Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday, Demirtaş and Bogdanov also discussed the future of the Kurdish people in the Middle East.

In a speech at the conference on Kurds in Syria and Turkey hosted by the Carnegie Moscow Center, Demirtaş addressed the Daesh threat in the Kurdish town of Kobanê:

“It’s not hard to understand why Daesh is fighting the Kurds and insists on gaining control of this small town. It can be easily understood why ISIL has been encouraged to invade Kobanê and is being provided with logistical and intelligence support by several countries,” said Demirtaş, before adding: “Those who wish to enslave the locals of the region attack Kobani via the IS.”

Salih Muslim, the head of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said at the conference that Daesh were using the Turkish border without providing specific details about that use.

Turkey has been criticized for allegedly ignoring the flow of foreign fighters crossing through the country to join the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.

Demirtaş also described Moscow’s approach to the Kurdish issue as insufficient, and said the Russian authorities didn’t contact Kurds directly but preferred to do it via the Turkish government.