HDP co-chair condemns terror attacks on civilians
REUTERS photoThe co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has condemned terror acts against civilians, while calling on the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated group which carried out several recent attacks, to dissolve itself.
“We’ve always called on this organization to stop these attacks and retract their threats of continuing and increasing their attacks,” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told BBC Turkish on June 16.
“We never thought that an organization like this has any benefit to anybody. On the contrary, it’s obvious that it’s harmful,” he said, when he was asked whether he wanted TAK to cease actions and dissolve itself.
“There is no party other than us which harshly criticizes and warns TAK. No other party calls on TAK to end these types of actions,” he added.
Recently, TAK claimed a June 7 attack in the Vezneciler neighborhood of Istanbul that claimed 12 lives, six of whom were police officers.
Demirtaş also said the party had no knowledge of any PKK attempts to restart talks with the government.
The co-chair’s statements came a day after he issued a joint statement with the party’s other co-chair, Figen Yüksekdağ, holding the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible for “destruction and suffering” and demanding an urgent end to “illegal round-the-clock curfews” in a number of southeastern Turkish provinces.
“As part of a larger war policy, round-the-clock curfews are still going on in Kurdish provinces despite their illegality. Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in months-long curfews in the Şırnak city center and 22 other districts. While armed clashes have stopped in all these districts, curfews are still in effect for full days in some districts, while at night in some others,” the statement dated June 14 and released on June 15.
“[President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan-AKP rule is directly responsible for all this destruction and suffering. The crimes against humanity committed by them are piling up with every passing day. The main reason behind the government’s refusal to lift round-the-clock curfews is its aim to completely destroy these civilian settlements,” Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ added.
“The ongoing round-the-clock curfews, blockades and destruction in Kurdish cities and towns should be immediately stopped. All the obstacles that prevent residents from safely returning to their homes should be removed,” stated the two leaders of the Kurdish-problem focused HDP, the third largest party at Turkey’s parliament.
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (CoE) recently concluded that curfews imposed in various districts and neighborhoods in eastern and southeastern Turkey since August 2015 are “not constitutional.”
Turkey’s conflict with PKK militants, said to have left more than 5,000 people dead since July, has also destroyed at least 6,000 buildings that will cost up to 1 billion Turkish Liras ($340 million) to rebuild, according to a government estimate.
Large swathes of towns in the mainly Kurdish southeast have been devastated by daily shelling, blasts and gunfire in battles that are still raging, even as Erdoğan says the PKK is in its “death throes.”