In order to raise awareness for the massacre at Lice and support its people, HDP Co-Chairs Sebahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü moved the weekly Parliamentary Group meeting to Diyarbakır. Accompanied by a large delegation, they addressed the citizens on top of a hill close to the Duru Gendarmerie Station, where two citizens were massacred. The group meeting was held with HDP deputies, HDP Vice Co-Chairs, members of the HDP Central Executive Committee and MPs, representatives of the HDK-HDP constituent organizations, administrators at province and district levels, Co-Chairs of district municipalities, members of the Peace Mothers Assembly, and numerous citizens, including the young continuing their struggle against outpost (kalekol) constructions and military operations for the past 18 days.

Addressing the crowd, HDP Co-Chair Sebahat Tuncel started her speech by saying, “We are commemorating those who have lost their lives in this process with deep respect, and we hope that these will be the last of deaths. We denounce this massacre. The fact that this protest is stained with blood has made the peace process even more fragile, and raised debates about Turkey in public opinion. We hope that these losses will be the last, and we can start talking about not deaths, but lives. We say enough, we say êdî bese.”

Noting that there has been important progress in the Kurdish question, Tuncel reminded the statement the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan published in Newroz 2013: “This manifesto has conceived a different situation in Turkey. It created the possibility of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, the Laz, Circassians, Abkhasians, Sunnis, Christians and the Yezidi living together, in peace. Together with the process that Mr. Öcalan commenced, people have begun to demand the end of the war, and the restitution of peace. The public opinion of Turkey have sided with peace, not war. The people of Kurdistan have supported the process. Mr. Öcalan and the Kurdish movement have backed the process; they have done their bit.”

Tuncel continued her speech by stating that despite the remarkable sensitivity the Kurdish movement has shown towards the process, the AKP government did not take any steps that would give confidence. She said the Kurdish movement has done their duty in providing the requisites for the ceasefire agreed upon, and the withdrawal of the guerilla out from Turkish borders. Tuncel continued, “Despite all this the AKP government did not take the steps it was supposed to, such as the repeal of the Anti-Terror Law, the rehabilitation of Kurds’ rights through constitutional reform, or calling a halt to the construction of gendarmerie outposts. Mr. Öcalan has shown the necessary sensitivity, and assured the continuation of the process. The seven ceasefires preceding the last one were overturned by provocations. We do not want the ceasefire to end, or the process to be interrupted. The Kurdish people want to live in peace in their own land, with their own language, culture and identity.”

Tuncel reminded that the Turkish flag lowered by a child in Diyarbakır has set the agenda of the parties, and said they think the hauling down of the flag was a provocation.

Tuncel said, “It is a conscious attempt to lower a flag while people are occupied with their funerals. We are not against anything that might be sacred for someone, but in return everyone should respect what is sacred for us” and remarked that peace requires a great show of willpower. She expressed that peace is more difficult than war and continued, “We first need to accept this in our souls. The Kurdish movement has provided the confidence in this matter. However the AKP government and the state are not taking any steps. Why are the outposts still being built? Are we not going to make peace? If we are going to make peace, what are these outposts, kalekols are for?”

Tuncel put it on record that the resolution process has been underway in over 1,5 years, and in the meanwhile everyone wished that no one would lose their lives: “But there have been casualties. There was the Paris massacre. 3 people were killed in Gever/Yüksekova, ten gerillas were massacred in Diyarbakır, Medeni Yıldırım was killed in Lice, 8 people were killed in Gezi, a few days ago 2 people were killed here, and last night people demanding peace were killed.”

She mentioned that the AKP government, instead of meeting people’s expectations, has privileged security policies. She said, “In their report Human Rights Foundation notes that 341 gendarmerie outposts were built in the process of withdrawal, when the state is expected to assure that the process would go on. If so, why do you keep building outposts and security dams? Why do you not pay any effort to guarantee that the process goes on? But the AKP has not taken any steps. It has only claimed that it insists that the resolution process goes on. We value this discourse. But if you are genuinely persistent, will you rescind the Anti-Terror Law? Will you rehabilitate the rights of the Kurds by removing all barriers against the language, identity and culture of Kurdish people?”

Tuncel summoned PM Erdoğan to Lice, to listen to people’s troubles, and explain the solution he has in mind, remarking that it is everyone’s duty and responsibility to protect the resolution process. Tuncel said the workshop on the resolution process the AKP organized in Diyarbakır last week was a sign that the AKP is going its own way, paying little attention to other opinions. Tuncel emphasized that BDP and HDP are important actors, and that the efforts regarding the process should be bilateral.

Tuncel continued by saying that as HDP, they are aware of the responsibilities that come with the process: “We are not only calling the government and the opposition. The protests in Meskan and Lice have been succesful. Acts such as blocking off the roads and constructing resistance tents have exposed the hypocrisy of the government. They exposed the mentality that on the one hand speaks of the process and peace, and on the other hand follows a politics of distraction and security. Our people have done their bit. Now it’s the politicians’ turn. Yesterday our comittee went to İmralı to talk with Mr. Öcalan. Öcalan emphasized his insistence in the peace process and his efforts for its continuation. The peoples of Turkey should support Öcalan’s peace efforts instead of the AKP’s fascist war policies.”

After Tuncel, Ertuğrul Kürkçü briefly addressed the people, in which he evaluated the lynch campaign against the Kurds after the Turkish flag was hauled down. Kürkçü said: “Policies of repression should not be hid behind the Turkish flag. I say this to those who want to cloak everything behind the Turkish flag. Do not use the flag as an instrument of oppression. Does it befit a statesman to act so childishly? How consistent is it to mourn after the children that went to the mountains one day, and to interrogate the commander that did not hurt the child that lowered the flag the other day? In Turkey everyone should oppose the use of the flag as an instrument of oppression of other peoples. This is true nationalism.”

Kürkçü expressed that it is the democratic right of the Kurdish people to oppose the outposts built against them, and called the Turkish people to support this resistance. He said, “Where HDP is, no one can impinge the values of the peoples of Turkey.

Kürkçü also evaluated the message the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan gave in a meeting with the committee yesterday, and said that the peace process is a strategic decision for themselves, the Kurdish people and the Kurdish movement. “In this process the river is flowing. It is impossible to turn the flow around. From now on it can go underground, it can surface, it can meander but it cannot flow the other way. For us, the peace march carried this meaning. All of Turkey should follow the footsteps of Mr. Öcalan.”

June 10, 2014