Devriş Çimen, European representative of the HDP – Interview to Milan Rokos, for the Czech news site www.seznamzpravy.cz
“Democracy should include as much as possible and not exclude. If the other parties would not stand on the side against this politically pre-ordered procedure, they are the next to be eliminated. Thus, the attempt to close the HDP is an attack against the whole opposition.”
Turkish Supreme Court is deciding about the closing of HDP. You called it political coup. Do you think the court is biased towards Erdogan’s AKP?
All accusations against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are politically motivated and are urged by Erdoğan and his unofficial partner Devlet Bahçeli (Leader of the ultranationalist party MHP), the judiciary. Therefore, from our point of view, the accusations are illegal. That is a purely politically motivated judicial matter which unlawfully resulted as ‘court case’. The majority of the courts and numerous other institutions are under the influence or control of the Erdoğan regime. It is not possible to judge how far the judiciary can withstand the political pressure, but we hope that the last remnants of the judiciary will comply with democratic and universal standards and reject this case.
Did the regime changed the composition of the Supreme Court after the coup in 2016?
Democracy in Turkey, which has always been problematic, has dismantled its last remnants. Under his authoritarian regime, Erdoğan always proclaims “the new Turkey”. But there are structural and political problems, because he massively dismantles the last remnants of democracy and attempts to eliminate his opponents with all means. He can do that only if the Supreme Court can go along with him. At the moment it looks like that. There are tens of thousands of political prisoners. Among them, 4000 members of the HDP, including MPs, mayors, officials. They are all political hostages of Erdoğan. When you have political prisoners, talking about free justice is a joke.
In the indictment there are numerous crimes like a murder or terrorism. Can you exclude that HDP is not a political wing of the outlawed PKK, as the prosecutor said?
The philosopher Theodor W. Adorno said “There is no right life in the wrong one.” That’s why I say because the prosecutor’s claims are politically preordained, you can’t answer them. False claims like the one made by the prosecutor have no real answers.
How would you describe current relations between PKK and HDP?
Turkey had and still has very large democratic deficits. There is therefore a vacuum, which has always been filled with anti-democratic, anti-Kurdish policies. The present Turkish constitution rejects all other peoples who do not submit to Turkism and also fights them with all national force. The PKK fights politically and armed against this state policy, which is hostile to Kurds. The HDP is a political party which was founded in accordance with Turkish constitution, but which represents exactly those peoples who are excluded from the constitution. And these are not few. HDP, therefore advocates for democratisation and freedom in Turkey. The anti-democratic attitude of Turkey, however, puts all those who do not obey the Turkish-Islamic-patriarchal state policy on the target.
In the end of April there will be another process called Kobani. Head of HDP Mr. Demirtas can get 15000 years of prison for the alleged inciting terrorism. What was the crime?
The problem is not HDP or Selahattin Demirtaş but Erdoğan. If one were to take another look at the IS attacks on Kobane, one would see how Erdoğan instigated the attacks on the side of the IS. “Kobane is about to fall,” Erdoğan told refugees in the city of Gaziantep on October 7, 2014. So, this was positioned on the side of IS. Millions of people all around the world stood in solidarity with the resistance in Kobane. Those who stood up to Kobane protected the dignity of humanity against the IS barbarians.
Erdoğan is angry that the beginning of the end of the IS era began in Kobane. His most important military partner was defeated. So, he has announced revenge which is why all the accusations are false. If anyone is to be judged for Kobane, it is not those on the side of the resistance, but Erdoğan and his troops who wanted to wipe out Kobane.
Closing of prokurdish political party won’t be anything new in Turkey. How would you react if the court decides as it is expected? Shall we see establishing of the new political movement?
The HDP is not a party that is going to end with a prohibition. Moreover, the voters of the HDP are not measuring their political work according to the models of the AKP, but according to the freedom, democracy and demands of the people in Turkey. The HDP sees itself as an idea that is growing despite repression and criminalization. The AKP can ban the party, but the idea and the desire for freedom and democracy will organize itself even more importantly. Hanna Arendt said “The meaning of politics is freedom”. Thus, individuals seeking freedom will pursue their meaning. Be it with or without HDP – the idea will continue to grow.
What are the positions of other Turkish parties except AKP and MHP? Do they support your right for a fair trial?
As I have already mentioned, the democracy in Turkey, has always been problematic. There are very large democratic deficits. Democracy should include as much as possible and not exclude. If the other parties would not stand on the side against this politically pre-ordered procedure, they are the next to be eliminated. Thus, the attempt to close the HDP is an attack against the whole opposition. Either all opposition groups -whether they want to or not- will show solidarity with HDP or Erdoğan and the fascist MHP will impose their power, so that the last hope for a democratic future will be abandoned for many years. The Kurds, the people’s, the HDP and its powerful base will continue to organise themselves until certain Turkish politicians offer themselves as interlocutors for a democratic Turkey.