Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç said that the government was trying to eliminate the opposition party from politics with its mass detentions of members related to the October 2014 Kobane protests.
Dozens of HDP members were detained in a multi-provincial operation on Sept. 25 on charges of inciting violence during the 2014 protests when the majority Kurdish southeast provinces called for Ankara’s protection of the border town of Kobane in northern Syria.
As Ankara remained reluctant to protect Syrian Kurds from ISIS, HDP officials urged solidarity with the call for Kobane’s protection, and 37 people were killed in protest as members of the Turkish Hizbullah took to the streets.
“HDP was the target of a vengeance operation because it lead for law, justice, equality and peace,” Oluç said in a press statement on Sept. 28. “The goal is [to create] a Turkey without the HDP, politics without the HDP, life and parliament without the HDP.”
Noting the pro-Kurdish opposition’s more than six million voters and 20 million supporters nationwide, the co-chair said that the HDP was the third largest political party in parliament, and within the electorate.
“You can’t neutralize the HDP with such cleanup ops. What are you going to do with the millions of people who have given their vote, and their hearts to the HDP?”
Widespread support from different political camps has emerged since the detentions of HDP members last week, for which Oluç thanked everyone.
“They will continue to grow this support because they know that a Turkey without HDP would be a huge loss for democracy, even if they don’t agree with us,” he added.
Oluç also said that the government’s crackdown on the opposition party was an attempt to secure 51 percent of the electorate in the upcoming 2023 elections, as Turkish law mandates a majority of votes to establish a government.