Turkey has been experiencing what seems to be a repeat of events from the many pogroms and national-lynching campaigns that the country has witnessed several times in the past century. Angry mobs took to streets under the leadership of AKP youth organizations, right after President Erdoğan said, “If a particular party [as I had wanted before the elections] had received 400 deputies in the parliament [out of 550], things would have been completely different,” – referring to the soldiers who were killed in clashes between Turkish Armed Forces and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the east of Turkey. The mobs, led by the leader of AKP Youth Movement and also a member of the parliament, attacked the Hurriyet Daily’s headquarters. The social media troll army and pro-government journalists described the events as the “democratic right to protest the corrupt media” and encouraged people to take to streets.
The violent attacks on the Hurriyet Daily received no response by the police, which has been terrorizing peaceful protesters that had criticized the government. Later, on the night of September 6th, the mobs started circulating around another critical media organization’s headquarters, the Zaman Daily. Using the excuse of protesting the killing of soldiers by PKK, they have started marching to the pro-Kurdish ‘People’s Democratic Party’ (HDP), which is a parliamentary party that has received 13+% of the national vote.
Attacks on the Kurdish Citizens
Ahead of upcoming elections, AKP has been meaning to gather more of the nationalist votes to sustain the will of Erdoğan, thus trying to steal votes from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) by organizing nationalist events, and intimidating Kurds, socialists, leftists and other components of HDP in violent pogrom attempts, trying to push HDP down through the national election threshold of 10%. Even though the mobs have originally targeted the HDP as a party, not much later the Republican People’s Party (CHP) offices have come to be subject of some attacks too – even though some CHP voters have also supported the attacks!
Across the country, AKP youth organizations have attacked HDP and CHP offices, homes and shops of Kurdish citizens, in hundreds of towns. Thousands of people across the country have set fire to the HDP offices and the HDP headquarters in Ankara, while shouting “Allahuakbar” to justify the roots of their islamofascist attacks. On the streets, one young man has been stabbed to death by 6 others for speaking Kurdish on the phone, and thousands of people have been injured with swords, stones, clubs, sticks, etc. for being Kurdish or holding any of the other identities that the nationalist mobs deem as “treacherous”. The day after these attacks, HDP officials stated that the mobs knew exactly what to do, in what seems to be simultaneous and coordinated attacks. The information-centers of HDP offices, where the application documents for the upcoming election had been kept, has become the main target of arson, a day before the application deadline. When the leader of HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş, called the Governor of Ankara to ask for state protection of the headquarters, he received a “very disturbing and impolite response denying HDP the police protection or firefighting services”.
So far several Kurdish citizens have been reportedly killed in the pogroms, and districts of temporary workers who live in tents were set on fire, destroying their only housing. In the meantime, across the country, nationalist mobs are hanging onto flags and honking from their cars all night long, making rounds in predominantly Kurdish neighborhoods, thus implementing a psychological pressuring mechanism. It has been reported that the police do nothing against the attackers and in most cases, join and help the mobs.
In light of violent events, many citizens have started putting up Turkish flags on their windows and balconies, to show that “Turks are living in this household”, as the absence of a flag has come to be taken as a sign of non-Turkish, non-muslim residence. Also, in some neighborhoods massive flags have been put up at the entrance of streets as a show of force.
Nationalist Youth Denies Involvement
Amid violent attacks, when HDP offices are being set on fire one by one, the nationalist youth organization, “Ülkü Ocakları”, have made an announcement declaring that they have not supported nor taken part in what has been going on, and that it is the government-paid people pretending to be their members who try to take people to streets for violent attacks. Most of the participants of mobs have been photographed with the hand signal of the Ülkü Ocakları, which is the sign of a wolf head with fingers.
The Ülkü Ocakları released an official statement saying that they have only organized events to commemorate the soldiers killed at city squares and their groups did not participate any events that involved violence. The group has taken precaution against “undesirable” events from taking place and called for only peaceful, democratic manifestation at city-squares. Nationalist organization also condemned the attacks which they declare have been organized by the governing AKP and their paid-activists who pretend to use the nationalist symbols to lure in their supporters.
Erdoğan’s “deep throat”, who disseminates secretive information from the palace, had earlier tweeted that the nationalist Ülkü Ocakları would be blamed in mob-attacks that would be carried out by AKP’s youth organization “Ottoman Union”. The deepthroat Fuat Avni also states that the Ottoman Union’s members are mostly agents of the secret service, led by Canpolat who had been arrested while preparing for assassination of the Pope in 2006.
The Only Bookstore Set on Fire
During the pogroms, in the province of Kırşehir, the one bookstore of the city has been set on fire for containing material that is harmful to the national will; however the fact that the owner of the bookstore supported HDP might have also had an effect in this anti-intellectual stance. The owner of the bookstore, whose property has been damaged, has paid for a banner to be put in front of his burnt-shop saying “We are one and we will remain one in peace”.
East of Turkey, the Land of Civil War Imposed by State
In the east of Turkey, where clashes have been going on since the Suruç bombing of activists that has left 36 activists dead and riot police laughing at the victims in July 20th, a state of emergency has been declared in hundreds of locations which imposes a curfew. There are many citizens who have been killed by soldiers, police or special forces, and very little news makes it out of the city centers due to an imposed digital-lockdown which does not permit any phone or internet connection from the cities.
Several HDP deputies have gone to the cities in the east, in order to observe the situation and bring out news of the suppression. The level of suppression had increased to a new high after dozens of cities started declaring self-governance upon state terror. As of September 9th, the city is under siege with heavy weaponry and reports of tanks and helicopters are coming in; while leader of HDP Selahattin Demirtaş, the HDP ministers and 40 MPs are marching to the city of Cizre on foot to stop a massacre from taking place. One of the latest announcements, shared from the city by HDP deputy Ferhat Encu, is from the police announcement stating, “This will be the last night for you”.
In the light of calls for massacre and coordinated mobs, Demirtaş has made a long speech saying that the state officers who are employed as tools of the fallen government of AKP should immediately stop in their contributions to a dirty war, that there will be no one to protect them a few years from now, when they will all sit in jail for the crimes they have committed. Demirtaş also responded to the danger that citizens are in, saying that every living being has a right to self-defense and citizens should defend themselves with proportionate means when subjected to such pogroms. Upon Demirtaş’s call, some youth organizations have been reported to gather at HDP headquarters in Ankara against the daily attacks by thousands of police-escorted islamist nationalist mobs.
Preventing the Flow of Information, Control of Media Tools at Maximum
While for the last three months many Kurdish cities in the east have been subjected to an imposed news-censorship and cutting of phone/internet lines, on the night of September 8th, social media has been shut down – yet again – alongside censorship of hundreds of accounts. Moreover, the international journalist, Frederike Geerdink, who has written the book, “Kurdish Matters”, and reports from the Kurdish cities of Turkey, was arrested and announced to be deported. The pro-government media has started a smear-campaign to distort the image of the journalist, sharing her news with the headline suggesting that she was “a PKK supporting foreign activist”.
The soldiers who have been killed in the PKK’s landmine attack had been reported by their comrade, soldier Private Şahin Şimşek, had used social media to disseminate crucial information as to how the soldiers and their commanders were forced to leave the headquarters almost knowing that they would be subjected to an attack. Later on, Private Şimşek was reported to have committed suicide by the military officials, and later he was reported to have been killed in armed conflict, not giving details as to exactly how the conflict started or took place. Private Şimşek was one of the many Kurdish soldiers who got killed while serving in the military in the recent clashes.
Intent to Jail Kurdish Movement
Back in 1994, when Prime Minister Tansu Çiller faced a major economic crisis, she had also chosen the option to attack the Kurdish movement. The end result of the campaign was dozens of citizens killed, hundreds of repressive attacks by special forces and military, Kurdish politicians who stood up for peace were jailed. It took a decade for the clashes to calm down and it was only thanks to Erdoğan’s efforts that peace negotiations had begun. Right now, showing the Kurdish politicians of HDP as target and organizing mobs to attack them seem to take a path which reminds of 90s. Early September 10th, the prosecutors have called for the leader of HDP Selahattin Demirtaş’s political immunity to be lifted, which would pave the way to his imprisonment for “inciting violence”.
More stories by Gürkan Özturan @ http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com
More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/