The Police Raid on HDP Istanbul Headquarters
Hişyar ÖZSOY, Vice Co-chair of HDP Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Deputy for Bingol
August 12th 2016
The Istanbul headquarters of HDP, the third largest party in the parliament representing the will of more than five million voters, was ravaged and vandalized by Turkish Police Special Operations teams at 3.00 a.m. on 11 August. Backed by a helicopter and armored vehicles, the police broke in the building like gangs; they stayed there for five hours and did not let any HDP executives or lawyers in.
What they left behind were broken windows and tables, pillaged aid packages to Şırnak and Nusaybin, smashed flowers, computers and copiers, ripped books, torn posters and graffiti, and damaged walls and infrastructure. Our co-chairs immediately asked for an official explanation from the government, but to no avail.
The raid took place after President Erdoğan had openly and repeatedly put the HDP on the target. It is telling that the raid came only a couple of hours after Erdoğan had announced a temporary break in the nightly rounds of three-week “democracy watches,” which have been instrumentalized to form and consolidate a Turkist nationalist coalition rather than a democracy bloc. Erdoğan had previously excluded the HDP from the leaders’ summit as well as the Yenikapi meeting in Istanbul. In a similar vein, the AKP government chose not to include the HDP in the parliamentary committee to work on a package of constitutional changes. Also, Erdoğan underlined the delay in processing the cases against HDP deputies due to the coup attempt and called for speeding up the process.
Having said that it was a God’s gift to him, Erdoğan has been using the failed coup attempt as an opportunity to silence all dissenting voices in the country. The scope of his repressive campaign is definitely not limited to pacifying the coup plotters. He is gradually but surely expanding the scope of repression and targeting all democratic forces in the country. The vandalizing of HDP’s Istanbul headquarters should be interpreted in this context and viewed as the clear sign of an impending wave of even more violent aggression against the Kurds and all other democratic forces in the country.
We view the raid as a deliberate act of intimidation and criminalization to marginalize the HDP and its democratic program, especially its decisive position to find a peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue. Despite all counter propaganda, HDP remains to be a genuine democratic alternative committed to address the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of Turkey to live in a democratic and peaceful country.
In these extremely precarious times for democratic life in Turkey, we invite the international community to remain vigilant, show solidarity, and make it clear that the HDP is not alone in the arduous struggle for democracy, justice, and peace.
Attack on Kurdish Politics Continues: Dozens Detained
Children are not exempt from political genocide operations
The arrest of Kurdish activists and political representatives continued yesterday and today. Many addresses were raided across six cities in the early hours of the morning as dozens of people including pro-autonomy Democratic Regions Party (DBP), Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) executives and municipality and Kurdish association administrators were detained.
At least 120 Kurdish politicians and activists have been detained in the past week in what Kurds are calling a ‘political genocide operation’. There are thought to be more than 10,000 Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey’s prisons.
Turkish police carried out house raids and detained many civilians including children in Adana this morning. The civilians were detained in the Küçükdilli and Denizli neighbourhoods of Seyhan district and were taken to the Provincial Police Headquarters. Two of those detained were Mehmet Emin Vural and the 16 years old B.E.
Special operations police officers carried out simultaneous house raids in the Bostaniçi neighbourhood of Van’s İpekyolu district this morning and detained many civilians taking them to the Provincial Police Headquarters.
Ipekyolu Municipality reporter Bedran Babat and his family were tortured during their detainment, and 21 year-old Zeki Duman was detained in the Xaçort neighborhood.
Democratic Society Congress (DTK) Bitlis delegate Nevin Işlek and Halis Demir were detained during house raids in Bitlis and taken to Bitlis Police Headquarters. Police searched the houses of Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Provincial co-chair Enver Barin, Deputy co-mayor Orhan Arıkbaşlı and Ahlat HDP district co-chair Sidar Kandemir.
Provincial Assembly member Necmettin Arıkbaşlı, Elcewaz district co-chair Erkan Koçaklı and HDP Elcewaz district administrators Maşallah Keserci and Abdulkadir Toro are being detained in the Ahlat District Gendarme Command.
Police raided two houses in the Tepebağ neighbourhood of Derik district this morning and detained HDP Deril district co-chair Izhan Avlar and municipality worker Gülseren Yüzal. The reasons of Avlar and Yüzal’s detainment remain unknown, and the detainees have been taken to Derik District Police Headquarters.
Several civilians including Necat Yüzkan (33), Ibrahim Fidan (20), Silvan municipality worker Izzet Evruk (38), Yılmaz Yüzkan (23), Suat Güzel (20), Kadir Cesur (29), Mehmet Mehdi Yıldırım (20), Veysel Aksu (34) and Mehmet Kızmaz (24) were detained during house raids in Silvan district this morning. The names of other detainees have not been clarified yet.
Police officers carried out simultaneous house raids across Izmir and detained 11 civilians including KURDÎ-DER (Kurdish language association) and TAYD-DER (Assocation for Solidarity with Families of Those Imprisoned) administrators this morning. KURDÎ-DER Izmir co-chair Ali Yalçınkaya, TAYD-DER administrator Sait Yıldırım, A. Barin Baran, Özgür Dilek, Rüzgar Gökçen and 6 other people were taken to Izmir Provincial Police Headquarters.
Kurdish Journalist Vedat Hisen Ali Murdered in Duhok
Rojnews reporter Vedat Hisên Ali has been killed by unknown assailants after being kidnapped in Duhok.
Rojnews has reported that Vedat Hisên Ali, who began working for the agency recently, was kidnapped and killed, with his corpse being found a few hours later on the Duhok-Sêmêle main road. Ali was kidnapped on his way to work in the Malta neighbourhood said Rojnews and his corpse was found at 12:30pm.
Although there is little information about Hisên Ali’s murder there are fears that the killing may be a political assassination.
Rojnews is known as being critical of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).