Intellectuals call on Şahin to quit

Intellectuals call on Şahin to quit

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Intellectuals call on Şahin to quit

After police kept BDP deputies from protesting at a Diyarbakır rally July 14, clashes occurred in the city between police and protesters. Interior Minister Şahin said BDP deputies provoked the police. DHA photo

Turkey’s prominent intellectuals have blamed Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin for the “state violence” against Kurdish people at a recent demonstration in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır where they called on him to resign.

Şahin insulted those who voted for Kurdish deputies by calling them “pathetic,” author Adalet Ağaoğlu said. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the person responsible for attempting to attract conservative votes in order to transition into the presidency and risk Turkey’s peace for his own ambition, academician Baskın Oran said.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) held a meeting July 14 in Diyarbakır despite the governor’s ban on the meeting. Many were injured, including two BDP deputies. The call for Şahin’s resignation came after he commented on the incident, saying the BDP deputies provoked the police to use violent means in the first place by disregarding the ban placed on the meeting. “The police didn’t carry out any illegal action. There is a cursed structure which doesn’t promise anything other than blood, grudges and death, and there are 18 pathetic deputies who tried to serve this structure in Diyarbakır on July 14,” he said, in an apparent reference to suggested links between the BDP and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

“We, citizens of the Turkish Republic, want to live in peace and on an equal citizenship basis with Kurdish people. We are ashamed of the state violence against the BDP who tried to hold a meeting in scope of their democratic rights. We condemn the government’s efforts to reverse the facts and put the blame on the BDP. We demand the resignation of Şahin, who had an aggressive attitude towards Kurdish people from the very first day he took office and dared to call the deputies who were beaten by the police in Diyarbakır ‘pathetic,’” a written statement from the BDP calling for Şahin’s resignation and signed by supporters said. 

“Any political party can hold meetings anywhere they desire. The BDP tried to hold a meeting in the province where they outvote other parties. Since they are in the Parliament they represent Diyarbakır as well, it is their fundamental right. I found the minister’s words terrifying; it is against fundamental human rights. I refuse the violence totally,” Ağaoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday.

Journalist Nuray Mert, who is among those who signed the BDP’s call for Şahin’s resignation, found the reaction belated and weak, but urgently needed.

“This is a late call; Şahin’s previous practices speak for themselves. Intellectuals should have reacted much earlier. I wish our reactions will come stronger and earlier from now on. If he resigns, but I do not believe that there is even a one percent possibility that he will, this would be a symbolic step for Turkey’s Kurdish issue solution,” Mert told the Daily News.

The real person responsible for what happened was the prime minister himself, human rights defender and academician Oran from Ankara University said, citing “the government’s agenda to switch Turkey to a presidential government system.”

“Erdoğan lost his control for being the president. He released the murderers to get the votes of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), he transferred the leader of an Islamist party to get their votes. He is not trying to be everybody’s president but the majority’s,” Oran said. 

Authors Yaşar Kemal, Ahmet Ümit, Oya Baydar and Zülfü Livaneli, along with academicians Ahmet İnsel and Ali Nesin are among those who signed the call for the interior minister’s resignation.