Turkey’s Separatist Kebab Shops

“Separatist kebab shops” said Devlet Bahceli, “are one of the reasons of unemployment”.

Speaking at parliament today Bahceli, Chair of extremist right wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), incomprehensibly blamed the kebab shops for “aiding and abetting terrorism” and argued that they are one of the reasons of unemployment among the country.

No one could understand what Bahceli is talking about and soon this nonsense statement became a topic trend in social media with #kebapci hashtag.

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Armed Men Attack MP’s Home

Tulay Hatimogullari, Deputy Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was attacked at her home last Friday by two armed men claiming to be undercover police officers.

MP Hatimogullari said that this is not an isolated event since abductions of dissidents became widespread recently in Turkey. She also stated that they (HDP) have a pretty good idea about the intent and they will not allow chaos to reign in the country.

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Ex-EMEP Chair faces 15 Years Imprisonment

Levent Tuzel, the former MP and the former chair of the Labour Party of Turkey (EMEP) faces trial and up to 15 years jail over charges of terrorism and propaganda for participating in the activities of DTK. 

DTK stands for the “Democratic Society Congress”, a non- governmental organisation that aims to draw attention to democracy problems, particularly the Kurdish question in the country.  DTK has a wide profile of participants, from political parties to trade unions, academics and writers.

Last year Yusuf Karatas, columnist for Evrensel daily, was also put on trial and sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison for participating in the DTK panel as a member of the executive board of EMEP.

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Students call for affordable student accommodation

There is a growing “Movement of the Unsheltered” protests against rising living costs and lack of affordable accommodation for students who are enrolled in universities in Turkey. Since last week students in seven cities are sleeping outdoors and camping, mainly at parks where they conduct their vigil.

Students also have launched a campaign on social media under the #barinamayanlar hashtag to call for solidarity. They are basically demanding rent controls, reduction in dormitory fees and a decent rise in higher education scholarships.

Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) accused the government of failing to provide proper accommodation for students and forcing them to resort to the dorms run by Islamist sects.

“You are lying. Your life is a lie!” said President Erdogan in response to ongoing protests of the unsheltered students and claimed that some “irrelevant people” are sleeping on the park benches as part of “an ugly campaign”.

So far some major opposition municipalities -such as Ankara and İzmir- and a nongovernmental organisation -namely The Federation of Alevi Foundations- offered temporary accommodation for students in urgent need.

“We have just begun! We have nothing to lose and we are getting more crowded every day. Let’s extend this movement everywhere, starting with the campuses.” says the students within the movement in their Twitter account. (@barinamayanlar)

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Remarks on the Kurdish Question

Ercument Akdeniz, the chair of the Labour Party of Turkey (EMEP) said on Tuesday, that the Kurdish question is a fact in Turkey and “the denial of the democratic demands of the Kurdish people is the main source of this question.”  Akdeniz made his statement on Twitter regarding the current discussions about who will be the interlocutor for the solution of the Kurdish question.

EMEP Chair Akdeniz also criticised the continuing discussions about the legitimacy of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) by underlying that “HDP is a democratic, legal and legitimate political party” and said that “The democratic solution of the Kurdish question is the responsibility of the people of Turkey as a whole, beyond the HDP.”

Debates on the interlocutors in resolving the Kurdish question sparked as Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Chairperson of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) commented on the Kurdish question in a documentary saying that his party could work with HDP to resolve the issue.

Sezai Temelli, former HDP Co-Chair commented on Kilicdaroglu’s remarks saying that Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is “the interlocutor” on the Kurdish question.

The extremist right wing political formations reacted fiercely to the statements of both Kilicdaroglu and Temelli. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) argued that the “CHP administration’s actions and statements have turned into a national security threat.” Bahceli the chair of MHP accused Kilicdaroglu for “legitimizing HDP” and said that there is not a “Kurdish issue” in Turkey and the ones who claims there is are “cravens.”

Meanwhile HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar has welcomed the remarks of main opposition leader and stated that the Parliament is the place of resolution and yet there are also other actors in the resolution of the Kurdish question.

Selahattin Demirtas former HDP Co-Chair also commented on the debate via his attorneys. Demirtas said that HDP is a political actor that aims to resolve all problems of Turkey, including the Kurdish question.

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Emine Senyasar calls for support on 200th day of vigil for justice

Emine Senyasar, who lost her husband and two sons three years ago is calling for solidarity on Friday, September 24 which marks the 200th day of her vigil for justice.

The Senyasar family were subjected to a brutal attack on 14 June 2018 which was launched by the relatives of Ibrahim Yildiz, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Suruc district of Urfa, a southern province of Turkey.

According to security camera footages and eyewitnesses, in 2018 MP Yildiz’s family went to Senyasar family’s store asking for their votes as part of their election campaign.  During their visit a political argument took place between the families after which Yildiz’s family members went  back a second time to the shop and opened fire. After the incident all family members were transferred to Suruc State Hospital.

Emine Senyasar went to the hospital to see her sons with her husband, where all three were brutally killed the same day by a later raid 

by Yildiz’s family. A member of Yildiz family also lost his life at the same hospital as well. 

According to Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) report about the massacre the raiders also destroyed the security cameras at the crime scene.

Fadil Senyasar, one of Emine Senyasar’s sons, who survived the attacks, has been sentenced to 37 years, 9 months in prison despite acting in self-defence.

“Emine Şenyaşar is the portrait of injustice in Turkey” says Ayse Acar Basaran, MP from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Basaran also states that “the trial process shows how justice has been shaped by the interests of the government.”

“I want this cruelty to end and justice to be served. We need legal support” says Emine Senyasar, who is calling on lawyers to gather infront of Urfa Courthouse on Friday where she has been on justice vigil.

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Another Kurdish Child Killed by Armoured Police Vehicle

Mihrac Miroglu (7) was killed by a Turkish policeman while riding his bicycle in front of his house in Sirnak province in the southeast of Turkey. According to Mezopotamya News Agency, Mihrac died shortly after the crash of an armoured vehicle on 3 September 2021.

“The deaths involving the security forces and the vehicles they use in Kurdish provinces are not accidents but massacres.” said Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in statement via Twitter.
Mihrac’s death is the latest incident of many, involving armoured vehicles belonging to the Turkish forces in Turkey’s Kurdish populated provinces. At least 40 people, 20 of them children, in the last 13 years have died in armoured vehicle killings. Particularly in Sirnak at least 76 children have been killed via police shooting or armoured vehicles in the past ten years.

Another recent armoured vehicle incident which could make the headlines was killings of siblings Muhammed (7) and Furkan Yildirim (6) again in Sirnak. The siblings were killed while they were sleeping inside their house on 3 May 2017. Omer Yegit, a Turkish policeman who crashed the armoured vehicle into their house almost acquitted on November 2020. The trial was completed last year and the policeman -who lacked a licence to operate the vehicle- was convicted of “involuntary manslaughter” and sentenced to two years and one month in prison. This was later reduced to a 19,000 Turkish lira (£1680) fine. Policeman Murat Maden, who was Yegit’s supervisor at that time, was acquitted of all charges.

Recently a footage of an armoured police vehicle trying to run over children in Batman (another Kurdish populated south-eastern province of Turkey) also created a public outcry. Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) condemned the incident and called on the justice and interior ministries for an official investigation.

At the time an investigation have been launched to the HDP Batman branch for “inciting the public to hatred and enmity” for sharing the footage via social media. (The footage can be reached at: https://twitter.com/HDPElih/status/1366101751007502339?s=20)

There are too many incidents involving armoured vehicles in Turkey’s Kurdish populated provinces and generally there are extraordinary obstacles to bringing perpetrators to justice. Even when a judiciary process takes place, there is a climate of impunity for government security forces.

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Kurds brutally killed by Turkish Gang

Seven Kurds from the same family were brutally murdered today in a racist  attack in their home in Konya; a central province in Turkey.  

The Dedeoglu family was threatened and racially abused by a gang of 60 grey wolf members earlier this month. The racist group said to the Kurdish family, “We are nationalists, we will not let you live here. We don’t want Kurds here.” After that attack some of the perpetrators were detained but soon after released from custody. And today gunmen shot the family and set their house on fire.  

In a video footage filmed at the crime scene, voices were heard still shouting “We will not let a single Kurd be left here!” 

Turkey saw a big jump recently in politically motiviated racist crimes and offences against Kurds committed by supporters of the ruling party. 

Recent political murders include the shooting of Deniz Poyraz, a party member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) by a racist hitman in İzmir. 

“Racist attacks that have been forcibly flared up recently are starting to claim lives, and constitute a threat to every person who is different, starting with the Kurds. These racist attacks are being encouraged. This perilous game must end.” HDP said in a statement. 

“Seven Kurds, from the same family, three of which were women were murdered in Konya. The rulers who have been fueling hate speech for days and the bourgeois opposition that lends support to chauvinism is responsible of this attack. Let’s unite for fraternity against racism and fascism!” Labour Party of Turkey (EMEP) said in a statement. 

The massacre created a public outcry. Thousands of social media users, including representatives of community organisations, associations, politicians, journalists and academics, blamed the government and local authorities as abettors of this brutal attack. 

As SPOT we call for solidarity with the Kurdish people.

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Gunman attacks HDP offices and kills employee in Turkey

Deniz Poyraz, a party employee at the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Izmir branch was killed today in a brutal attack at the party office.  

An armed attacker has been identified as  Onur Gencer. It is believed he entered the building in the early hours despite the presence of constant police force at the gate of the party building. He took Poyraz as a hostage and burned the property, and then killed her.

“Our friend, Deniz Poyraz, was murdered in the attack on our İzmir district building. The instigators and abettors of this brutal attack are the AKP-MHP government and the Ministry of Interior which constantly targets our party and our members” HDP said in a statement.

As the incident created a public outcry, Izmir Governor’s Office released a statement saying that the attacker was a former health care worker and has been detained. Onur Gencer is believed have been sent to fight in Syria against the Kurds and has previously shared armed photos from his time in Syria on his instagram. 

Onur Gencer (Instagram)

Democratic forces in Turkey have called for urgent solidarity stating that this brutal attack -which by itself has the capacity to be a trigger- has been triggered by AKP’s all-out attack against HDP and the constant harassment of democratically elected opposition politicians and the utter intolerance for criticism of government policies or officials.  

As SPOT we are calling on the progressive forces in UK to stand up for the people of Turkey.

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Gendarmerie opens fire on peaceful protest in Turkey

Turkish gendarmerie opened fire against villagers protesting the demolition of their barns for a marble quarry in the village of Gurpinar in Van eastern province of Turkey on 26 May 2021.

“Where shall we go?” said the villagers stressing that their only source of income is livestock and they are afraid of the death of their animals.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP’s shared video recordings of the incident via their official social media accounts. The footage showing villagers screaming and running away while shots are being fired has caused outrage. Social media users expressed their reactions under the #VanGurpinardaVahset hashtag.

The mentioned footages can also be reached at: https://twitter.com/ekolojibirligi/status/1397912566978863107

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