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Yuksekdag calls for support for HDP as the only force opposing war in Turkey

FORMER Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leader Figen Yuksekdag said the organisation would be reborn as “the will of the people’s peace” against the Turkish state and the politics of war.

She was speaking to the Mesopotamia News Agency from her Kandira F-type prison cell where she has been held since she was detained with 10 other parliamentarians, including fellow co-chair Selahattin Demirtas in November 2016.

Ms Yuksekdag warned that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was trying to shut down any opposition to his war on the Kurds which is currently raging in northern Syria, as well as domestically.

“The ruling party and its supporters do not want a single criticism and objection when they shed the blood of the Kurds and the people of that land on the territory of another country,” she said.

“This makes the HDP’s attitude and struggle historic, even if it is a difficult task and is heavily besieged.”

HDP has been targeted inside Turkey since it was founded in 2012. Electoral success in 2015 saw the state increase its oppression. 

Following the lifting of immunity from prosecution for lawmakers, a move backed by the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP), whole swathes of MPs, co-mayors and activists have been jailed.

On August 20, co-mayors in largely Kurdish municipalities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van were removed from post and replaced with government-appointed trustees.

And since Turkey’s war on Kurds in northern Syria began last week the attacks have escalated. 

Criminal investigations have opened into co-leaders Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli.

And yesterday morning mayors from the Kurdish-majority border districts of Hakkari, Yuksekova, Ercis and Nusaybin where detained on terror charges for statements opposing war.

Late yesterday Mr Erdogan lodged a criminal complaint against exiled former HDP MP Osman Baydemir for an anti-war speech delivered at a 20,000-strong demonstration in London.

The HDP is the people, without their support it would have been impossible to maintain the party which has one foot in prison, Ms Yuksekdag explained.

“Today, the HDP plays the role of a bridge that connects the East and the West, the Kurd and the Turk, and tradition and the future,” she added.

But the jailed politician said the mission of the party was vital “with all parties under the roof of the Turkish parliament, except the HDP, united in the war against Syria and the Kurds.”

She said it was the only party that can fulfil “this historical duty” against war and for a peaceful and democratic solution to the problems faced by Turkey.

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