Currently a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a hawkish politician on the Kurdish issue, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's political life has seen dramatic changes. Before joining the AKP, Soylu was known for his harsh criticisms against the party and Erdoğan. "People have forgotten how to smile as a result of the AKP government's wrong economic policies. They made Turkey face crisis with their inabilities and incompetence. They are covered in corruption," he said before joining the AKP.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has ordered a commander to rip PKK militants said to be involved in an attack in Diyarbakır's Kulp apart. "I called the regional commander and ordered, 'Rip them apart when you find them,'" a pro-government columnist cited Soylu as saying on April 9. The minister noted that the pictures of the "neutralized" militants will be shared.
HDP deputy Garo Paylan has asked Health Minister Fahrettin Koca the reason for why only 500 tests were carried out in the past 27 days in Diyarbakır. "Is discrimination the case when distributing tests to Diyarbakır and other provinces in the region?" Paylan, who is a Diyarbakır lawmaker, said in his parliamentary question following reports on the issue.
A center for Kurdish language and culture research, the Kurdish Institute of Istanbul, received some 1,048 applications within 24 hours of announcing that they would be opening up new spots for their online classes in the Kurmancî and Kurmanckî dialects of Kurdish. The institute will open 27 new classes of about 40 students for the online courses that will start April 15.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's doctor has urged his patient to be released from prison, saying his health problems make him vulnerable against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "Demirtaş is among one of the groups that's under highest risk. Prison conditions bear major risks in terms of getting infected," Cegerxun Polat told Duvar.
Turkey's Interior Ministry on March 23 appointed trustee mayors to eight more municipalities run by the HDP in the southeastern provinces. Including this latest move, the government has appointed trustees to a total of 40 municipalities won by the HDP since the 2019 March local elections.
Former Diyarbakır Mayor Selçuk Mızraklı from pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison March 9, a year after he was elected by a landslide and six months after he was replaced with a trustee. "The ruling on Selçuk Mızraklı will show the Kurdish people that they don't have the right to elect their own government," said Mızraklı's lawyer Mehmet Emin Aktar.
Germany's leftwing political party Die Linke and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (RLS) have hosted a conference on the Kurdish issue in the German Bundestag on March 6, with the participants discussing "the current opportunities and perspectives" with regards to the solution of the Kurdish issue in the Middle East in several panels. From Turkey, CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu and HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar attended the conference.
In their "Freedom in the World 2020" report, the US government-funded organization Freedom House said Turkey has been the second country to limit freedoms and human rights the most in the past decade. The country's human rights score on the Freedom House scale was cut in half over the past decade when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed uninterruptedly. For 2019, the re-run of the Istanbul mayoral elections and the unwavering pressure on the opposition were deemed the biggest blows to freedoms.
No tents were set up for victims of the 6.0-magnitude in Iran that killed nine people in the southeastern province of Van, a group of officials from Turkey's Human Rights Association said. No alternative shelter was provided for the survivors either, the group said, condemning families to spend the night in the freezing cold.
Iconic member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Leila Khaled said at the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) congress that the Palestinian people and the Kurdish people are members of the same struggle. "Our people have embraced your party, our people are elevating the party. We struggle together against Zionism, against imperialism and bigotry," said Khaled Feb. 23.
The HDP has renewed 80 percent of its party assembly during its fourth congress in the capital Ankara on Feb. 23. The reshuffle stemmed from the party's strict two-term rule, which led to former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been in jail since Nov. 4, 2016 to be left out as well. The new party assembly also included 12 lawmakers, including Meral Danış Beştaş, Garo Paylan, Feleknas Uca and Filiz Kerestecioğlu.
HDP has elected Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar as its co-chairs in a congress held in the capital Ankara. "This country is ours. We will govern it" and "Grand politics, grand hope, grand change" were the slogans of the congress. "Freedom" and "Peace" were written on the walls of the hall in different languages. Messages from the party's former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were read in the congress.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that the HDP should aim for coming to power in the next elections, as he suggested forming a democracy alliance. "A democracy alliance can be formed with all the political structures that can unite around a program that foresees all freedoms and a democratic society-state structuring within the framework of a new constitution," he said.