Demirtas visits EU to highlight rights violations in Turkey's Kurdistan

June 15, 2016
Millet Press

The Co-chair of the Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas was in Brussels on Tuesday, where he met with Elmar Brok, chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, and other MEPs.

The HDP’s representative to Europe, Eyyup Doru said that Demirtas aimed to hold a number of meetings with senior European officials as well as submit video evidence and documents proving violations committed by Turkey’s army in the country’s mainly-Kurdish southeast [Turkish Kurdistan].

Demirtas was also expected to meet with the EU’s Representative Frederica Mogherini to discuss the situation in Kurdish areas in Turkey, Doru said.

Meanwhile, flags of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) were seen hanging in one hall of the European Parliament for the first time as a symbol of the courage and resistance of Syrian Kurds in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS).

Demirtas warned on June 11 that an “ethnic civil war” could break out in Turkey as tensions between Turks and Kurds intensify.

The HDP Co-chair said it is impossible to establish peace in Syria without peace in the southeast of Turkey, as the Turkish government considers Kurds in both countries to be a single entity, he added.

“The war in Syria is tied to the conflict here [in Turkey] because the Turkish government sees the Kurds in Turkey and in Syria as one,” Demirtas said in an interview with the Irish Times on June 11. “It is impossible to have peace in Syria without peace in southeast Turkey.”

“This war is driving Turkish and Kurdish society apart,” Demirtas added.

Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish regions. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.

Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians. But the government says the operations are essential for public safety, blaming the PKK for the damage.

Pro-Kurdish opposition political parties say about 1,000 civilians, mostly Kurds, have perished in the fighting, since the Turkish offensive against the PKK centred in towns and cities in Turkish Kurdistan.

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