Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Russian president Vladimir Putin, the main backer of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has supported the rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, in the southern Russian town of Sochi on September 17.

After the meeting, it was announced that Putin and Erdogan had reached an agreement on the future of Idlib, a province in northern Syria.

Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin was said to have remarked that there are decades in which nothing happens, and weeks in which decades happen. Muhsin Yorulmaz writes that, in Turkey, there is no escaping this particular truism.

Because of the rapid rate of betrayals, shifting alliances and crises, it becomes difficult to summarise what the Turkish government or state are “thinking” in a given week, even for those of us who speak Turkish.

The People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a broad-based left-wing group largely initiated by Kurdish forces in Turkey, has faced the full brunt of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian crackdown.

More than 10,000 HDP members have been arrested, along with its leaders and dozens of elected officials — often on trumped-up charges of “supporting terrorism” in retaliation for the HDP’s support for the struggle of the Kurdish community for democratic rights.

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in the Turkish city of Istanbul after a 280-mile Justice March against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The demonstration was in response to the widespread jailings and dismissals authorised by the Turkish government after last year’s failed coup attempt.

The mood in Turkey is low, and not just among those who oppose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Even some of his supporters are disoriented by developments in the country.

In the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15 last year, Erdogan orchestrated the dismissal of tens of thousands of government employees. The figures from the ongoing Turkish purges are startling.

HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

Thousands of opposition supporters chanted, “We know we won, we know they lost, we are not afraid”, in the streets of major cities after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory in the April 16 referendum to strengthen presidential power. 

Late in the evening police attacked opposition demonstrators outside the headquarters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The July 15 coup attempt was a nightmare. Kurds remember the terrible army coups in Turkey’s past. After the coups, Kurdish people were jailed, killed and tortured.

Kurds are against military coups. By nightfall on July 15, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had immediately condemned the coup attempt.

Kurds thought that after the coup attempt, there may be a return to the peace process.

The reasons behind this were:

New international talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict may be unlikely to succeed, but they do mark shifts in the alignment of competing forces.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on December 31 to support a ceasefire in Syria that started the previous day. The latest round of international peace talks are scheduled for January 23 in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.

“We will resist and resist until we win!” chants Sebahat Tuncel before her mouth is forcibly shut by half a dozen police officers who drag her along the floor and detain her in early November.

The following statement was released on November 11 by Farooq Tariq, spokesperson for the Awami Workers Party in Pakistan.

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On the night of November 3, the Turkish police detained Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ – the co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – alongside several other Members of Parliament who were democratically voted in with over 5 million votes in the last parliamentary election.

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