If in any country a political party incites people to take to the streets and “take action” and if the people who took to the streets attack some other “nasty people” violently and 48 people are blatantly murdered in those attacks across 34 provinces, there must be some consequences. There ought to be a price for the incitement to uprising or the rehearsal of a planned future uprising.
Now Selahattin Demirtaş, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader who made the call, and other HDP executives are trying to save face, express various degrees of apologies and expect to escape the dastardly conspiracy that created a serious confidence crisis between them and the ruling political Islamists. Can it be possible to forgive and forget what happened when Demirtaş publicly admitted that “Some deficiencies occurred; when we made our call, we were unaware that buildings of the Free Cause Party [HüdaPar] would be attacked or that tension would erupt with supporters of HüdaPar … We did not have the slightest idea that such things could happen"?
Can anyone buy such excuses? Will anyone not ask Demirtaş if he was unaware of the history of the violent performance of HDP supporters? Did he not have the brains to think that once poured on the street, those people would turn violent? Can the HDP and Demirtaş indeed think they can wash their hands of responsibility in the murder of 48 people, a grand act of multiple homicide?
Political parties should not be closed down through arbitrary decisions or court rulings. Party closure is very much like the death penalty, and since such penalties are not corrective in nature they should be replaced with “acceptable penalties.” However, no one should escape the crime they have committed if this country is not to be turned into some kind of “crime land.”
Demirtaş, who won the hearts and minds of many people during the presidential vote with his inclusive approach embracing all colors of the Turkish society, should not have been carried out of the limits of reason with his ultra-micro-nationalistic obsessions aroused by the tragedy in the Syrian border town of Kobane. Claiming that the government preferred the easy way out, he has started to play the “blame the HDP” game, in an attempt to wash off its responsibility, though it might be an acceptable point raised by Demirtaş. Indeed, the government should have taken measures to prevent the rehearsal of an uprising by the separatist gang that was staged by the HDP. At the very least, measures should have been taken to immediately contain the violence within the limits of the law and democratic governance, and the provoked groups should have been stopped from attacking HüdaPar and other potential targets, including local buildings of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The HDP was wrong in calling people to take to the streets and “take action,” but was not the government also wrong?
For the past two weeks, the government has been busy concocting a new “internal security package” that will further strangle democracy, the supremacy of the law, and individual freedoms. The HDP should pay a price for the gross and deadly mistake it was involved in. The government, police and entire security apparatus must pay a price of their gross negligence and inability to contain the uprising rehearsal before 48 people were murdered.
Why should freedoms, the supremacy of the law, democracy and democratic norms pay the price? Why is Turkey moving to further strangle freedoms? Is someone fooling the nation and consolidating autocracy by distracting attention on some trivial discussion?
What is the difference between HüdaPar, the al-Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Is the HüdaPar a trustworthy democratic establishment? Those issues are irrelevant, even if no one should forget the crimes committed by Turkish Hizbullah in the late 1990s. This writer is not trying to defend HüdaPar at all. Perhaps there are claims that HüdaPar and some “dark, deep elements” were just waiting for a pretext to unleash a wave of violent actions. Whatever! The HDP and the government were wrong in October’s violent and deadly developments and there ought to be a price to pay for what happened.