I am writing this letter to you from Cizre, which has been under siege of thousands of soldiers and police officers without any legal and constitutional foundation for 32 days under the pretext of curfews. The AKP (Justice and Development Party) government in complete disregard of the June 7th,2015 election results has put all democratic politics and principles aside. The government targeting primarily the Kurdish people and all the democratic and oppositional forces in the country has adopted a whole set of war and security measures since July of 2015.
Cizre, just like all the other cities of North Kurdistan claiming right to self-governance as the demand of the population has been under continuous and profound state violence. As I was writing this letter to you; an artillery shell had just hit a house approximately 500 meters away, killing a 12 years old boy Yusuf Akalın and heavily injuring his 8 years old sister Dilan Akalın and 10 years old cousin Büşra Akalın. His sister and cousin also died in the hospital shortly after. Just in the district of Cizre one of them a 3 months old baby, 11 children, 11 women; 54 civilians all together have been killed in the past 32 days.
The rigid borders and politics of nation states created in the region after the First World War consisting of denial of Kurdish identity has lost its validity. The Kurdish people just demand an end to the century-long injustice in the region. However, the Turkish state responded to the Kurds’ desire for peace, freedom and self-governance once again by military intervention. The Kurdish people’s attempts for peace has met by escalating state violence, brutality and bloodshed. As a result of these state policies, we are facing growing devastation of Kurdish cities and population, which triggers the spiral of violence in the country and brings all the peoples of Turkey to the edge of the catastrophe.
I have appealed to my European colleagues a few weeks ago explaining the exact situation here calling for international solidarity. I have been in Cizre since the very beginning of the curfews. I haven’t left the town even a moment in order to be in solidarity with my people. I am a first hand witness to the situation here. Civilians in Cizre have been exposed to brutal and most extreme form of state violence, not only lacking basic human rights but even right to live. 54 civilians –so-called ‘terrorists’-, including 3-months-old baby and 70-years-old woman have been killed during the curfew. We were prevented from burying and bodies of those killed remained in the streets for days. We still could not bury some of the bodies which are kept in the morgues due to the curfew. Moreover, people prevented from even taking a step outside, spend days along the dead bodies of their loved ones, trapped inside their houses trying to prevent decaying of the bodies. We were not even allowed to mourn for the loss of the loved ones. We have witnessed grand tragedies which will be recorded in the dark pages of history and remembered with a disgrace in the future.
1128 academics from 89 universities in Turkey and 400 academics from all over the world including you who are the signatories of the ‘We will not be a party to this crime’ petition have been targeted by the The president of Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
President Erdoğan targeted the declaration of ‘We will not be a party to this crime’ and announced that ‘The ones, who are in betrayal of the state while having their salaries paid by the government, should be and will be punished’. Kenan Evren, the main agent of coup d’etad of September 12,1980 had also similar arguments about the intellectuals who had pointed out the problems of democratization process of that time.
President Erdoğan stigmatized the respected academics of Turkey as the ‘colonial intellectuals’, and invited you to Turkey in order to show you what has been happening in reality in the region!
Intellectuals are the representatives of the conscience of the society. They will just not support such an unjust war, but will also take a strong stand for the cause of peace.
Intellectual will upheld and struggle for rights of every living being. For the people living in the region, you are one of the most important and inspiring figures of such kind of public intellectual, who has worldwide reputation of fighting for peace. For this reason, we would like to invite you to the region and we will be very honoured to stand hand in hand in solidarity with you against the current policies of war and violence. In fact, we have already invited Mr. Erdogan and the ministers to the region number of times to show them the results of their policies on the ground. However, none of them came, actually couldn’t come. Cizre, Silopi and Sur have been turned into the Guernica of Turkey and the world in this century. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP Government have refused to come to face the devastation and destruction created in the Kurdish towns and neighbourhoods as a result of their politics of war. We hope that your possible visit may also trigger Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Davutoglu to come to the region to see the reality on the ground.
We believe that it is crucial to strengthen the solidarity, to stand strong and to continue to insist on peace despite the arrogant, discourteous and intolerant threats of the President and government against the intellectuals who are keen on peace and freedom in Turkey. And we hope and look forward to see you among us.
HDP Şırnak DeputyFaysal SARIYILDIZ
January 15, 2016
Dear Mr. Sariyildiz,
Many thanks for the very kind invitation to visit Southeastern Turkey. As perhaps you know, I have been there several times on missions to investigate the harsh and sometimes very brutal repression there. I appreciate the invitation to do so again, but I am afraid that circumstances make it impossible for me now, though I am following the situation very closely and doing what I can from here.
I very much hope that the current very dangerous trajectory can be reversed, and quickly, before even more damage is done.