We have not experienced a period when a PKK-affiliated political party has secured such a large foothold in mainstream politics as today. Certainly, this is a development that pleases all those who want the resolution of the Kurdish question through peaceful and democratic means. However, the concern is that when it comes to the west of the country, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) pursues a discourse reminiscent of a Western social democratic party, talking about gay rights and environmental awareness, while it continues to use the methods of armed threats and oppression in the eastern and southeastern Anatolia regions. Let us look at several examples. Van Municipality, which is administered by the HDP, launched a "raising awareness" campaign via billboard advertising toward the end of April. Interestingly, just before launching this campaign, it canceled billboard contracts and terminated those with the advertising companies that it had been working with. I am talking about a campaign that is the product of HDP-administrated Van Municipality in all aspects.
So what is on those billboards? Blood flows from a dark-colored tap that is pictured on a dark background with the following captions: "If you do not embrace, it is not distant," "Watch your step," "One day, everything..." and "Aren't you afraid?" They assert that this is a campaign that was started with the intention of raising public awareness about the proper consumption of water resources as part of World Environment Day. Keeping in mind that World Environment Day is marked on June 5, it is strange that Van Municipality, which is overwhelmed by the fear of failing to pass the election threshold of 10 percent, tries to implant awareness about water in the minds of people two months before World Environment Day. Well, where on earth does blood flow from taps during times of drought? These billboards, which evidently threaten people with death, were removed after complaints, but the aforementioned threatening discourse has already been engraved in the minds of the people.
Again last week, an unidentified murder was committed in the region. Mustafa Turhan, 42, who was the headman of the village of Bağgöze in Siirt province and an interim village guard, was shot dead with a long-barreled weapon near his automobile in the early hours of the morning. On the day before he was killed, Turhan, who was known to have been threatened by the PKK, hosted Siirt Governor Mustafa Tutulmaz and Siirt 3rd Commando Brigade Commander Brigadier General Halil Soysal in his village. What can be said about these events while some unabashedly argue that Turkey should return to the 1990s? We are in a period where the usual suspect is no longer the state when an unsolved murder is mentioned. It was also reported that armed PKK militants go to some villages and oppress people, saying" "It is your funeral if you vote for parties other than the HDP," as occurred in Diyadin, Ağrı. It seems that the PKK leaders in the Qandil Mountains are not of the same mind as their imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, who ordered PKK militants to "make themselves scarce," after the Diyadin incident.
Despite all that has happened, in an interview, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu cracked a "joke" about the safety of polls: "After all, the HDP will ensure the safety of polls in the east, they will deploy armed personnel and the issue will be settled!" The HDP promises a new life for people with a long election manifesto that it calls the "Great Humanity Call." However, its nonhuman approach toward Kurds who do not support the HDP shows the true colors of this fancy call.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.