HDP to international opinion: Speak out against authoritarianism
HDP executives Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy called on the international community to not remain silent against the Turkish government’s using the pandemic climate against its own dissenting citizens and towards consolidating its authoritarian rule.
Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy, co-spokespersons of HDP Foreign Affairs Commission said in a statement that "using the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce its authoritarian rule, the Turkish government is furthering its crackdown on any kind of democratic opposition in the country, the HDP in particular."
They underlined that "it is now almost a taboo to criticize the government’s policies on the economic crisis or public health in the context of the COVID-19, let alone burning questions like the Kurdish issue or military invasions into Syria."
The two spokespersons give a couple of examples of the crackdown. "According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), between March 11 and May 10, the police intervened in 8 events organized to protest the government’s measures on the Covid-19 and 42 people were detained. In addition, an investigation was launched against two members of parliament for their critical statements on Covid-19 measures, one of them claiming that the government has been hiding the truth regarding the cases of coronavirus in prisons. According to the Ministry of İnterior, as of 5 May 2020, a total of 7,127 social media account were investigated due to posts regarding the COVID-19 that allegedly caused panic and chaos among the public, 496 people were detained and 10 arrested. Besides, before and on the Labor Day (May 1st), at least 64 people were taken under custody arbitrarily, including presidents of some of the biggest trade unions in the country."
In addition to these mostly pandemic-related assaults on the democratic society, the more violent wave of repression on the HDP goes on. In March and May, 13 more HDP municipalities were seized and appointed governors unlawfully replaced our co-mayors. With these, the total number of seized Kurdish municipalities reached 51 (out of 65 won by the HDP in March 2019).
The HDP executives reminded that "on 22 May 2020, the police violently raided several houses and took under custody 18 people in Diyarbakir -- 13 women and 5 men. This specific operation mainly targeted female Kurdish politicians and activists associated with the Rosa Women’s Association (RKD), the Free Women’s Movement (TJA), Democratic Regions Party (DBP), and the HDP. The police also raided the office of the RKD and confiscated their official documents in the absence of their lawyers. The RKD was established after all women’s organizations in Diyarbakir were banned and shut down under emergency rule in 2016. It is the only women’s organization in the town involved in support work and struggles against violence against women. The people taken under custody include many key figures of women’s activism in Kurdish provinces."
The HDP executives called "once again, on the international community to not remain silent against the Turkish government’s using the pandemic climate against its own dissenting citizens and towards consolidating its authoritarian rule. Please raise voice and take action."