After the attack in Istanbul on 10 December and the blast of Kayseri this Saturday that resulted in many deaths and injuries, and which was harshly condemned by the HDP Central Executive Board, the Erdogan-AKP government has mobilized ultra-nationalist discourses to shape public opinion and avoid responsibility for their deadlocked internal politics.
In addition to starting a new wave of detentions and arrests against the HDP, the government has been channeling the popular rage caused by the bombings into organized mob attacks on HDP offices. This is clearly a politics of scapegoating in order to cover up the government’s own failure to prevent such an attacks.
On 12 December, a group of assailants tried to break doors of our office in Yalova. Failing to enter, they burnt the door and left grafitti on the walls. On the same day assailants using shotguns attacked our office in Balıkesir. Cafer Saritepe, co-chair of Balıkesir office, was detained after he had filed a criminal complaint on the attack. On 13 December, racist mobs attacked and tried to set fire on our Büyükçekme office in Istanbul. Unable to enter the office, they burnt down a vehicle of our party’s district representative. Our district co-chair Sidar Keser was detained while he was at court filing a complaint about the attack. On the same day, racist mobs plundered our offices in Konya and Mersin, putting racist graffiti on the walls. On December 14, similar hateful mobs stoned and damaged our office in Adalar, Istanbul.
We are familiar with such attacks on our offices. Between April and November 2015, hundreds of our offices, including our HQ in Ankara, were attacked by racist mobs and many were burnt down. These attacks happened before the watching eyes of the police and Ministry of Interior.
In addition to the damage done by racist mobs, the police also raided and damaged HDP’s provincial offices and detained more than 800 HDP executives, members or supporters since the attack in Istanbul. The lawyers informed us that many detainees were severely tortured and/or mistreated; female detainees were exposed to sexual violence and harassment; some received rape and or/death threats, and all were under psychological torture. Again according to the lawyers, some detainees were unable to walk or stand up due to the torture they had been exposed to.
It is clear to us that President Erdoğan wants to carry out a Constitutional referendum under a climate of social chaos and political polarization. On December 14, Mr Erdoğan declared “national mobilization” for the “war against terror,” arguing that the fight of the police and the army was not enough and that he needed “the nation’s” support. In another recent speech, he asked the police “not to show any mercy to the terrorists.” Given that according to the Erdoğan-AKP regime half of the country’s population is either “terrorist” or “supporter of terrorism,” it is likely that police violence and systematic torture will increase on the way to the referendum. And, Erdoğan’s call for “national mobilization” should be understood as a clear message to the racist and ultranationalist mobs to increase their attacks on the HDP. A brief look at the social media would show that many racists and ultranationalists have already received the message.
Peoples’ Democratic Party’s Representation office in Europe
19 December 2016