Turkey’s Hatay became battleground of war in Syria: HDP’s Demirtaş
Şükrü Küçükşahin HATAY
Selahattin Demirtaş, 41, the youngest presidential hopeful, reiterated that he is not open to any bargaining with the ruling AKP and its presidential candidate.
The war in Syria has also spread into Turkey’s southern border province of Hatay due to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) wrong policies, presidential hopeful Selahattin Demirtaş has said, while pledging for peace.
“In these lands on which we have been living together, we want to rebuild the law of fraternity, we want to repair this law that has become tainted,” Demirtaş, co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said at a gathering with civil society representatives in Hatay on July 31.
“We have been running for presidency out of this need. We are in the middle of a city where an unnamed and unofficial war is going on. The war is not being lived only in Syria. Since the fire fell over Syria, it is also burning here. One of the parties in this war is the AKP government; it is also a part of the war in Hatay. The government’s policies have led to the ongoing bloodbath in Syria and Hatay is suffering, too,” Demirtaş said.
On May 11, 2013, twin bombs killed 53 people in the border town of Reyhanlı in Hatay. Authorities have insisted the suspects being tried for the attack are linked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not Islamist rebels, but several leaked documents have cast doubt on the government’s claims, suggesting al-Qaeda-linked groups committed the attack.
“Hatay must be the first place where we found the law of fraternity. If we cannot have peace and law prevailing, we cannot have it anywhere in Turkey,” Demirtaş said.
Responding to questions from Hürriyet while in Hatay, the youngest presidential hopeful, 41, once more underlined he was certainly not open to any bargaining with the ruling AKP and its presidential candidate, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in regard to encouraging his supporters to vote for Erdoğan in the second round of the presidential elections.
“He [Erdoğan] is insulting us without openly citing our name. But he is forgetting there are millions who vote for us and in this way, he is also humiliating them. Believe me if I were to make a call to them and ask them to vote for Erdoğan in the second round, they would condemn me, saying ‘Who are you to make such a request?’” Demirtaş said.
Erdoğan would need at least 50 percent to win outright in the first round of the elections on Aug. 10, which will be Turkey’s first-ever direct presidential election held in two-rounds.
Support from the Kurdish population, who make up around one-fifth of the country’s population, could be decisive for his chances of winning the election and avoiding a potential second round Aug. 24.
“It is my candidacy that has paved the way for the second round. It is my candidacy that formed such political competition. You will see, we will get an enormous amount of votes and don’t be surprised if we succeed in running in the second round, too,” Demirtaş said.