Kobani Trial Sentences: Democracy Slaughtered in Turkey

Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yuksekdag and Ahmet Turk

By Arian Mufid:

On Thursday, May 15th, 2024, the North of Kurdistan woke up to the news that their leaders of peaceful democratic movements had been sentenced to years in jail, effectively condemning them to die in prison.

The Supreme Criminal Court in Ankara issued several rulings against 108 politicians, including former HDP leaders Selahattin Demirtas, Figen Yuksekdag, and Ahmet Turk.

The trial, known as the Kobani Case, alleges that these leaders fought to dismantle the Turkish state and incited violence in cities and villages of Kurdistan. These leaders fought against ISIS and supported the Kurdish movement in Rojava peacefully. These sentences reflect the Turkish government’s political stance towards democratic and peaceful struggles. These leaders were well aware of the risks they faced when they began their plight in a state they view as fascist, such as Turkey.

Erdogan’s scandalous behavior has eroded political trust among all people in the Turkish state, making it hard to miss the historic parallels of distrust and grievance, deep schisms of race and geography, and an obsession with suppressing the Kurdish nation since the rebellion of 1937. Some of the harsher edges of the Ottoman Empire have permeated the Turkish political fabric. From Erdogan’s chauvinistic perspective, the Turkish nation, as an Islamic state, appears very gloomy and dark. The weak economy, distrust in stock prices, and streams of people in prison reflect a shaky economy. The AKP lacks leadership and direction, exacerbating the rising cost of living and greater inequality that any half-decent leader could potentially address. In recent years, many political activists have ended up in what is effectively a jail graveyard. There are more hijabs today than there were in the early 20th century when Ataturk held power.

Turkish democrats and peace-loving activists suffer under Erdogan’s lockdown, compounded by inflation in food, drink, and energy costs. Erdogan’s primary purpose is clear: he wants a firm grip on power, to alienate his opposition, and to silence all voices demanding change in Turkey’s political system and constitution, along with the eradication of the Kurdish nation.

The Turkish MIT agency aims to establish a multipolar order to eliminate Kurdish leaders in North Kurdistan, which would require Kurds to kill Kurds. To some extent, Erdogan has managed to co-opt one Kurdish party, but they cannot achieve the task of killing their own brothers. Turkey is currently the biggest jail for the Kurdish nation in North Kurdistan. As the Turkish military state increases pressure on Kurdish democratic parties, the PKK will likely grow stronger as a proponent and the army of the people. For several decades, political observers have noted that Turkey claims to have eliminated the PKK, but the reality is they have not. Turkish freedom-loving and peaceful politicians have shown solidarity with the plight of the Kurdish democratic leaders. Erdogan’s AKP experienced significant losses in their local council elections last month, and he knows their days are numbered in Turkey.

On the night before the court decision, Erdogan called Ibrahim Kalin, the leader of the intelligence service, and the Justice Secretary to his palace to be updated on the court’s information. Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the MHP, which is in coalition with the AKP, stated that Turkey is going through its most difficult path since 2015, similar to the period before the military coup data, which started with the judicial coup data of 2013. Democracy in Turkey has been slaughtered. Turkish democracy needs to evolve by providing more active opportunities for people to have their say beyond the ballot box. Turkey should respect North Kurdistan’s enthusiasm for democracy and self-determination. The silence of the European community on the eve of sentencing these leaders is unsurprising, similar to the ongoing invasion of Gaza since October 7th, 2023. When Turkey imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, they thought the Kurdish struggle would be terminated and the political wing would fade away. However, Ocalan’s ideas and aspirations are carried by millions of Kurds throughout Kurdistan and in its diaspora community. Turkey needs to think twice before the state regresses to the civil war days of the 1980s. Erdogan and his associates have exploited the chaos and lack of global policing in recent days. Erdogan is a dictator, akin to others such as Saddam of Iraq, Gaddafi of Libya, Pol Pot of Cambodia, and Assad of Syria.

Finally, Jawaharlal Nehru, in response to the Kurdish revolts in the early Turkish republic, stated: “The Turks, who had only recently been fighting for their own freedom, crushed the Kurds who sought theirs. It is strange how defensive nationalism develops into an aggressive one. And a fight for freedom becomes one for dominion over others.”

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL https://kurdistantribune.com/kobani-case-sentences-democracy-has-been-slaughtered-in-turkey/trackback/