While the Kurdish community of France commemorates on Saturday January 7 the assassination of three Kurdish activists in the heart of Paris on January 9, 2013, in Turkey President Erdogan has launched an implacable fight against the Kurds on the political scene.
It is not just the war against the PKK in Turkey, Iraq or Syria. We are also witnessing here a real vendetta against the Kurdish political authorities. This is not from today. The HDP (People’s Democratic Party), a pro-Kurdish party, has been in the sights of the government for several years. Its leader Selahattin Demirtas, arrested in 2016, is imprisoned on charges of links with terrorism. But it is true that the repression is getting tougher and the approach of the elections in less than six months is probably not unrelated to this.
The HDP is the third party in Turkey, it represents 10 to 13% of the electorate. This is not negligible as the polls predict a tight fight between the incumbent president and the opposition. The HDP could therefore be a kingmaker. He represents a threat, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan wishes to eliminate.
Kurds : Financial and legal attacks
The power has squarely asked the constitutional court to ban the party. It is always the same reason: he accuses the HDP of an organic link with the terrorist PKK. The HDP speaks of a political coup. The hearing is set for next Tuesday, January 10. The pro-Kurdish party risks being dissolved. And the Attorney General has already obtained the freezing of HDP assets, just before the payment of a first tranche of public aid. In fact, the government is working to financially strangle the Kurdish party and deprive it of political representation at all levels. He has already sacked several dozen HDP mayors, almost all of them in fact, whom he replaced with administrators. HDP deputies have been arrested and risk having to give up all political office. The objective is to reduce the weight of the party at all costs
But the effectiveness of these measures is not guaranteed: if the HDP is banned, a new party will be created as has been the case in the past, say the Kurds, each time their political window has been smashed. And Kurdish voters, disciplined enough, will vote for whoever the party supports. President Erdogan has understood this well. This time, he will probably not recover the Kurdish vote. As a result, he tries to reduce his elected officials to powerlessness and creates a real climate of intimidation in Kurdish civil society, in particular imprisoning more and more journalists.