BDP wants Öcalan statue

BDP wants Öcalan statue

BDP wants Öcalan statue

BDP co-chair Demirtaş speaks to supporters in Mardin’s Kızıltepe district. DHA Photo

In a move likely to raise already simmering tensions between the government and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) another notch, BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said yesterday they will erect a statue of convicted leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan.

Demirtaş’s remarks came in a speech delivered to around 5,000 people in the town of Kızıltepe in Mardin province following a tense exchange between protesters and the police.

Speaking at the demonstration organized at Kızıltepe Freedom Square on Nov. 13 to show support for the ongoing hunger strikes, Demirtaş condemned the erection of a statue of infamous coup leader Kenan Evren in the country, while also criticizing reactions against Kurdish people hanging Öcalan’s posters.

“They said ‘You cannot hang Öcalan’s poster.’ I explicitly address them: while you can erect a statue of Evren, ‘the killer of Kurds,’ why can’t the Kurdish people hang their leader’s poster?” Demirtaş said.
Evren is one of the two living leaders of the notorious Sept. 12, 1980 coup and is currently being tried as part of a trial against the last remaining leaders of the 1980 coup.

“I call on you, those who are not bothered about the Kurds’ killer Evren’s statue being erected [or by] schools named after Evren. If they [Kurds] cannot hang Öcalan’s poster in Kurdistan, then where would they hang it? We will go further and erect his statue. Put that in your mind,” Demirtaş said.

Demirtaş encouraged the youth to support the hunger strikes by showing up at the square every day at noon. “Why do they not eat or drink those who have not eaten or drank for 63 days? For that leader in the poster,” Demirtaş said, reminding audience members of the reason behind protestors’ demands.

PKK Leader Öcalan is convicted to a life sentence and is currently imprisoned on İmralı Island. One of the three demands of hunger strikers is to an end Öcalan’s isolation in İmralı, which has so far lasted over a year.