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Dozens detained in Istanbul as war rages in Kurdistan

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Dozens of people attending today’s rally promoted by the HDP (People’s Democracy Party) in Istanbul were detained after police attacked the demonstration.

Written by Orsola Casagrande

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The HDP called the “Democratic resistance against the intervention” rally to protest against the recent decision by the parliament to strip deputies of their immunity. The rally was planned before the decision by the Constitutional Court on Friday to reject the appeal by the HDP against the stripping of immunity. A number of HDP deputies face long jail sentences as stand accused of “collaboration” with the PKK (the guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party).

HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would now seek the approval of parliament to his proposal of the President to be allowed to be member of a party. “What the president is trying to do – said Demirtaş – is to legitimize the criminal actions he has been taking as the authoritarian president of Turkey”. The HDP Co-President vowed his party “would stop Erdoğan and the president would be prosecuted as soon as possible”.

In the meantime war is raging in Kurdistan and day after day reports of new massacres and attacks emerge. Demirtaş himself, together with Şırnak MP Faysal Sarıyıldız met officials from the United Nations Human Rights Council Secretariat and asked them to say something about the massacres committed by Turkish forces in Cizre, Silopi and Sur, in North Kurdistan. Clashes between PKK guerrillas and Turkish army are continuing in several areas, with casualties on both sides. What was left of the never really started “peace process” seems to have been definitively buried by the Turkish government and more specifically by Turkish president Erdoğan who seems to have opted for war.

Sarıyıldız told UN representatives he witnessed the massacre in Cizre and offered to share photos, images and witness statements should they been asked to do so. In Cizre one hundred people were burned alive were a building they were hiding was set on fire. Dozens more were killed in a long siege by the Turkish army.

Once back in Turkey the two deputies were met with yet another attack on people. This time Turkish army bombed – on May 27 – Roboski, the very same place where 34 people were killed after an airstrike by Turkish warplanes on December 2011.

No one has yet been brought to justice for the Roboski massacre of 2011, and the village and its brave people have been attacked once again: 16 year old Vedat Encü was killed on 27 May and 5 people were wounded (one of them in critical condition died later). Turkish military tanks positioned on hills by the Gülyazı Regimental Command bombed a 40 person civilian group who went out for border trade. Residents in Roboski are cross border traders: they buy cheaper goods in South Kurdistan, crossing a border they never acknowledged and which divided families forced by foreign powers to split and live both in the Iraqi-occupied part of Kurdistan and the Turkish-occupied part.

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