The moment the bomb detonated. Ankara, October 10, 10:04am.
The following statement was released by Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chairs of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), on October 12 in response to the October 10 bombing of a peace rally in Ankara organised by the HDP, trade unions and civil society organisations. Following the attack, police blocked ambulances and attacked survivors.
Violence has escalated in Turkey since the June 7 elections, in which the left-wing Kurdish-based HDP won enough seats to make President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) lose its parliamentary majority and force new elections, scheduled for November 1.
The Erdoğan government has ended the ceasefire with Kurdish guerrillas, subjected numerous cities and towns in Turkish Kurdistan to military occupation and siege, launched a crackdown against the HDP, other left-wing organisations and the Kurdish movement, enabled pogroms against Kurds and other minorities and mob violence against HDP offices. Between June 7 and October 15, at least 694 people have been killed.
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On October 10, a peace rally that brought together many civil society organisations, revolutionary unions, and progressive and democratic parties, including the HDP, was the target of a horrendous attack.
Unfortunately, at least 128 of our fellow citizens were murdered in this attack and hundreds wounded. We are concerned that the death toll may rise, as 48 of the wounded are in critical condition. This attack will go down as one of the bloodiest in the history of our republic.
There are clear links between the attacks on our party's rally in Amed on June 5, in which five citizens died and more than 200 were injured, the suicide bombing in Suruç on July 20, in which 34 citizens were killed during a press conference by youth from across Turkey in support of Kobanê, and the suicide bombing of the peace rally in Ankara.
To date, none of the politicians in power has been held accountable regarding the previous two attacks. From the political rhetoric of Prime Minister Davutoğlu and the ministers he appointed, as well as that of President Erdoğan, we see no political accountability with regards to this attack. On the contrary, their public statements show a readiness to blame the victims of this attack and our party.
Such a political tendency also shows that those responsible for this massacre will also not be brought to justice, and that even the investigation may be hidden from public scrutiny. The Prime Minister's office has already censored media coverage of the Ankara massacre, suggesting that the government will be protecting not only the direct perpetrators of this attack but also those in political and administrative positions who paved the way for it.
Regarding this chain of massacres, we have a number of expectations and clear demands for the international community and for political leaders. In making this call, we wish to underscore that the Ankara massacre and the aforementioned previous attacks are international in scope, and to make clear that we see the potential for such events to open the way to regional insecurity.
AKP's policy of relying on radical groups as proxies, which began with Erdoğan's support — channelled through the intelligence organisation MIT — to the activities of such groups as ISIS, Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham against Kurds in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) is at the heart of today's tragedy.
Erdoğan aims for a “Turkey-type presidential regime” which will render him the sole political authority in Turkey. In order to achieve this, he needs his AKP party to secure the majority of seats in parliament to form a single-party government.
Pushing HDP under the electoral threshold (10%) stands out as a straightforward tactic for the AKP for this very reason. In order to achieve this, the AKP adopted “escalation of violence” as a strategic approach. Attacks against the PKK [Kurdish guerrillas] have intensified.
As the clashes escalated, the death toll of soldiers became a basis for creating a systematic wave of lynchings. AKP-led fascist pogroms targeting HDP buildings as well as Kurdish groups living in the western parts of the country. Kurdish cities have been kept under military blockade and curfew. In Cizre alone, 21 civilians were massacred by the Turkish armed forces as well as the police.
At a time when extreme nationalist and polarising policies are implemented in Turkey, the safety of the general November 1 elections is a vexing question to be considered in a serious manner. Our electorates feel under constant threat in every social space and political activity they attend.
To maintain stability in the region, it is crucial to prevent the devastating effects of the conflict from spreading over a wider geography. For this very reason, it is extremely important for the international community to take a firmer stand against Erdoğan and the AKP government that have already lost legitimacy in the eyes of the public in Turkey.
Hereby, we encourage the international community to stand in solidarity, to extend their condolences directly to the peoples of Turkey, not to the state representatives who are politically and administratively responsible from the massacre.
[Reprinted from Hdpenglish.wordpress.com]