A PES delegation led by President Sergei Stanishev and composed of Arnie Lietz, Member of the European Parliament, SPD Germany, Herbert Schmalstieg, President of USKRE, Former Mayor of Hannover, SPD Germany, Marie Rose Koro, Consular Advisor of Turkey, PS, France, and Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General, PES, held a series of meetings in Diyarbakir today.
The delegation was accompanied by HDP Vice Co-chair In Charge of Foreign Relations Hişyar Özsoy. The European delegation visited the Amed Metropolitan Municipality, DBP Co-chairs Sebahat Tuncel and Kamuran Yüksek, Kongreya Jinen Azad (KJA), DTK Co-chair Leyla Güven and the Diyarbakır Governorate Hüseyin Aksoy.
The delegation first held meetings in the Amed Metropolitan Municipality, with the co-mayors arrested and the building blockaded by the police. HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and HDP MPs were also present during this visit. The meeting was closed to the media.
The delegation continued to Kayapınar Municipality where they were received by co-chairs Sebahat Tuncel and Kamuran Yüksek. PES President Sergei Stanishev spoke here and said:
“You are going through a very hard and tense period as a party. There is great pressure on you. There are countless human rights violations. We are here to show solidarity against this pressure with you who we see as the members of the same political family. We will relay your words here to the European socialists. For us, human rights, freedom of expression and developing local democracy are very important. These seem very hard to achieve in Turkey right now.”
DBP Co-chairperson Sebahat Tuncel said 2500 party volunteers had been arrested in the last year due to their political party activities and added that 23 mayors were arrested, and trustees were appointed to 29 municipalities. Tuncel pointed out that Kurds in the struggle for rights and freedom in Turkey were subjected to double pressure others faced and underlined that, along with the pressure on freedom of thought and expression, the people living in this country lacked a guarantee for their right to life. Tuncel said Turkey had moved away from becoming a member to the EU due to the recent developments in the country and said:
“We request our European friends to fight not just for us against these, but also for their own values of human rights and press freedom. We request our friends and allies carry out a more effective struggle against the oppression of Kurdish people.”
Kamuran Yüksek said the situation in Turkey wasn’t ordinary, and this extraordinary situation imposed itself on the Kurds waging a struggle for democracy and freedom. Yüksek mentioned the closing of news agencies, television networks and newspapers with the statutory decrees issued by the AKP government and said:
“These unlawful practices imposed upon us and the press is hidden under a guise of ‘fighting terrorism’. This is where our European friends are being misled. They present all of us as ‘members of an armed organisation’, this is a great lie. We experience this oppression because we criticise the AKP, or more accurately, because we are Kurdish. Currently, the AKP has declared war on all Kurds. They target YPG and YPJ fighting against ISIS in Syria and in Mosul. We will continue our fight, to protect our rights and gains, and to democratize Turkey.”
European Parliament member Arnie Lietz said:
“I bring greetings from European friends. We will continue our fight for the launch of the 17th chapter, Human Rights, in the process of Turkey’s accession to the European Union. In our visit to Turkey in May, we said the country was inching towards a dictatorship. The umbrella of terror in Turkey is too wide. This was the biggest reason the visas weren’t lifted and the re-admission agreement failed. New regulations are necessary in this area.”
Then the delegation visited KJA office where they were greeted by KJA administrators Ceylan Bağrıyanık, Fatma Kaşan and Yüksel Baran. PES President Sergie Stanishev spoke first and said:
“We know that your movement has achieved a great deal in women’s participation in politics. The most developed countries have failed to achieve sufficient improvement in this area. We are aware of the pressure on KJA. We want you to know that you are not alone. We are very concerned for the events in Turkey. Especially the low standing of human rights concerns us deeply.”
Speaking after, Marie Rose Koro said:
“The will you as women present in the face of this oppression is very important. The Kurdish women’s struggle is known throughout the world. The co-chair system you have implemented is very important. We will invite you to the European Socialist Parties Congress to be held in December to learn from your experience.”
The delegation left the KJA and continued to DTK where DTK Co-chair Leyla Güven greeted them, before saying:
“The state has been trying to terrorize the umbrella organisation of NGOs in Kurdistan, the DTK recently. The co-mayor of Amed, Gültan Kışanak, is also charged with being a member of DTK. AKP holds the refugees over Europe’s head, and Europe is sacrificing the Kurds in return for refugees. The Kurds no longer want to live without a political status. We have achieved everything through resistance, and we will continue to resist.”
After the DTK visit, the delegation continued to the Governor’s office, after which they left for Ankara, where they had official meetings with the HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş and the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
At the meetings with both opposition leaders, Stanishev discussed the political situation in Turkey and President Erdogan’s actions against the freedom of media in Turkey.
During the joint press conference that followed, Demirtas said:
” There is not such a think as the arrest of our Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality co-chairs Gülten Kışanak and Firat Anli and the KJA’s spokesperson Ayla Akat Ata. If we understand it as an arrest, it would mean we accept it in the frame of a working judicial mechanism. There is not such a thing. This is not an arrest, but an abduction. They have been taken hostage. Our friends have been kidnapped by the AKP government and are being held hostage in a place called prison, without any judicial process. We will carry out an effective struggle against it.
This is an operation carried out among many others, a new fundamental step towards the current government dictatorship’s goal. The operation conducted this morning against the newspaper Cumhuriyet is part of this strategy. We will remain in solidarity with the newspaper.
We are facing a new stage, coordinated by the AKP, which is struggling not to leave a single opposition room. We have in front of us a state that has been seized by a tyrannic understanding, a state that is following the same approach as the plotters of July 15 who tried to ignore the law. There is no difference between the AKP and those putschists.
Our people must remain courageous against all those threats. Repression periods are anyway madness periods. It happened many times in the world, and are still being experienced in many countries. Such regimes eager of dictatorial hopes won’t be able to succeed without creating a scared and submissive society. Everyone is to stand together against all this, we urge you to fight together. We are going to prevent the realization of the AKP’s political objectives”.