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The following article appeared in Gazete Duvar on 19 October 2020. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

The newspaper has its own English translation of the article here.

Kobane-based plot against the HDP

Neither on 6 October, nor on 7 October, nor on 8 or 9 October, was even the slightest insinuation made by anyone that the HDP’s announcement contained an incitement to violence. Thus, President Erdoğan, speaking at a refugee camp in Gaziantep İslahiye on 7 October, uttered not a word in his speech about the HDP having incited violence. He did not, because there was no such thing. The violence started with Erdoğan’s pronouncement, ”Kobane is about to fall.“

Selahattin Demirtaş*

In 2014, in common with many parts of Syria and Iraq, ISIL barbarism was taking place in Kobane. Highly effective protests were being held throughout the world and, from August 2014, in Turkey against ISIL’s blood-chilling murders and the attention of world public opinion was gradually focusing on Kobane. Voices calling for the international coalition to intervene against ISIL were now audible in all four corners of the world. In Turkey, conversely, a point had been reached in the solution process at which the PKK would now totally relinquish arms and a democratic solution would take place.

The HDP, of which I was co-chair at the time, was one of the political actors in the solution process. The most sensitive ingredient of the process was to foster the mutual trust of all parties and public opinion and display the maximum possible transparency. There is plenty to be said about the solution process in terms of its shortcomings and merits, but it is worth noting that all parties and public opinion were taking part with good faith in this process or were supporting the process.


I now wish to follow up this brief reminder with a few remarks on the political operations with Kobane as their pretext. Why was the comment, which has been the solitary evidence in justification for the lynch-like political, police, judicial and media operations that have been conducted continually for six years, made on the HDP’s Twitter account? Let me initially revisit this.

Despite weeks of protests, reports made their way into the press that ISIL attacks had unfortunately intensified, and at that time when our Central Executive Committee meeting was in progress, that ISIL was on the verge of capturing the Mürşitpınar border crossing in Suruç. The sole and last entry point to Kobane for aid that was and would be on its way from Turkey to Kobane was this crossing. Just a few days earlier, in discussions I had on 1 October with Prime Minster of the day, Ahmet Davutoğlu, we had declared, confirming one another, that the necessary action would be taken for Turkey to aid Kobane and the historical importance of this with regard both to our interior peace and good relations with other Kurds living in the region as well as the success of the solution process. And, up until that date, we the HDP Headquarters had not directed harsh criticism at the AKP government, our dialogue partner in the solution process, or protested against the government.

We had constantly endeavoured to solve problems in a state of dialogue. Indeed, following the discussions I had with Mr Davutoğlu on 1 October 2014, I stated that the meeting had gone positively and I thanked the government. However, despite the passage of five days and a promise having been given, the government did not lift a finger to aid Kobane. On the evening of 6 October 2014, we wanted both to increase sensitivity by informing the public as to the seriousness and urgency of the situation reached in Kobane and also for the first time we criticized and protested against the AKP. Our sole concern as the Central Executive Committee in posting the messages in those tweets was whether this would undermine the basis for dialogue in the solution process due to us criticizing and protesting against the AKP for the first time. But, in the end, it was decided that if a massacre took place in Kobane this would do greater harm to the solution process and it was also decided that it would be beneficial for me to make a phone call to Mr Davutoğlu and convey how things stood to him. And, in the twelve-minute phone call I had with Prime Minister Davutoğlu, I filled him in as to developments and our stance. He himself will declare what he said if he so wishes and remembers.

Following the announcement the HDP posted at 9.50 pm on 6 October, various protests were held in Turkey and many parts of the world. In any case, these protests came by way of continuation of the protests held since August 2014 and were effective, too. However, not a single violent incident, injury or death took place. In fact, there were absolutely no protests or events the next morning. Everywhere was calm but gripped with concerned anticipation. We the HDP were discussing the merits of holding a mass rally in Suruç on Kobane’s borders and were investigating the possibilities of doing so.


I now wish to draw your attention to the following most important point: neither on 6 October, nor on 7 October, nor on 8 or 9 October, was even the slightest insinuation made by anyone that the HDP’s announcement contained an incitement to violence. Thus, President Erdoğan, speaking at a refugee camp in Gaziantep İslahiye on 7 October, uttered not a word in his speech about the HDP having incited violence. He did not, because there was no such thing. Had the HDP’s announcement been an incitement, as alleged or imputed by way of defamation, to “wreak fire and destruction,” would it not have been incumbent on the country’s president to say in his speech one day after the said incitement, “Steer clear of provocation; don’t go along with the HDP’s incitement; don’t wreak fire and destruction; halt the violence?” It would. But he said no such thing. Because there existed neither violence, nor a single person who took the HDP’s appeal to mean violence

So, following the HDP’s appeal was there any comment from the Prime Minister, Parliamentary Speaker, Interior Minister or opposition parties in the form, ”The HDP is calling for the wreaking of fire and destruction; steer clear of provocation; don’t go along with this incitement?” There was not. Because there was neither violence, nor the slightest perception of there being incitement to violence in the HDP’s announcement. If a party comes out and says, “Wreak fire and destruction,” would not a single warning come at the official or civil level from the country? It did not. Because no incitement to violence was present.


Well, how did it nevertheless come about that so much violence, slaughter and destruction was experienced? I am obliged to remind you once more of President Erdoğan’s speech of 7 October 2014. What did he say there? ”Kobane is about to fall.“ This is the very sentence that triggered the provocations.

People in some places restarted the protests following this speech because, rather than aiding Kobane – there was that stuff about the solution process, that stuff about peace with the Kurds, that stuff about mothers not crying - the country’s president more or less delightedly proclaimed the imminent demise of Kobane. And the first provocation came in the immediate wake of this speech. The police opened fire on protesters in Muş’s Varto sub-province and killed the 25-year-old HDP-supporter Hakan Buksur. A total of thirteen more people were killed on the same day by persons of indeterminate or concealed identity. So the provocations started with the massacre of HDP supporters.


So, did all the murderers including the police officer serving in Varto who killed HDP supporters and about whom not the slightest research has been conducted to identify them, move into action at the HDP’s incitement and kill HDP supporters? Are you mocking our intelligence? Virtually all the burnt business premises belonged to HDP supporters. Did HDP supporters do this, having read the HDP’s tweets? Do you think you are clever and the people are stupid? Do you imagine the Hizbi Kontra members and ISIL supporters who swarmed out with guns thrust in their hands are unknown to the people and they will remain in the shadows for eternity?

Do you think we will forget how your fellow travellers incited the people with ISIL admiration and its propaganda?

Do you imagine nobody has seen the footage showing certain security staff in cordial relations with ISIL members on the border with Kobane?

Or do you imagine we will forget the security forces which fanned the flames to stoke up the violence and provocations?


Do you think you will evade responsibility by imposing responsibility on the HDP, an opposition party, for all these atrocities which the government was unable to identify in advance or halt and prevent with four intelligence agencies and dozens of security forces at its command?

Or do you think we have forgotten the articles by the persons named Hilal Kaplan and Abdülkadir Selvi which, so as to fabricate perception out of lies, named me directly and immorally launched lynching operations as if we had called out “burn and wreck the streets” after they had succeeded with the HDP’s support in quelling all provocations and violence? Do you believe there will be no exhaustive investigation into the way these figures are still associated the curious structure named Pelikan and this structure overthrew the prime minister in the country, and allegations that this entire process and the 4 November operation against the HDP were aimed at effectively changing the constitutional order? Do you imagine the way the political, judicial, media and civil service tentacles which procured and supported not just the Kobane murders, but the murders in Diyarbakır on 5 June 2015, Suruç on 20 July 2015 and Ankara on 10 October 2015, supported ISIL will remain concealed for eternity? It is known that certain media hatchet men have for years been appointed under secret instructions emanating from politics to stage lie and defamation-based media lynching campaigns so as to ease the task of the gang structure in the judiciary, and who they are, name by name. One day, when the law begins to function, the documents and evidence to emerge will even astonish their mentors, be sure of this.

Do you really believe you will be able to bring down the HDP, which you cannot deal with in politics and at the ballot box, with the aid of your gangs in the judiciary and media?

Do you seriously believe that, six years later, you will be able to redetain and retry us and impose responsibility on us through a plot and secret witnesses for the Kobane massacres, in which we are actually the victims and not the responsible party, and evade responsibility? Do you think this plot will not one day comprehensively come to light?

You must truly believe the fascism that bolsters you today will always exist and you will get away with everything you do, because you are really most bold and fearless. What else apart from resist have we done to make you think you will scare and subdue us? But be sure that you are increasingly cornered and the days when you give account before the judiciary are approaching. My advice to you is to be afraid because we trust the people and take refuge in the Almighty and the people. What do you trust?

*Former HDP Co-Chair, Edirne Prison

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton