Civil Disobedience is responded with assault in Turkey


The Kurds of Turkey have started a “sit-in” protest against the Turkish government’s lack of interest and seriousness in solving the Kurdish issue. The Kurds, who make up 20-25 percent of Turkey’s population, demand to have public education in their language, release of the political prisoners, end to military and political operations against the Kurds, and the elimination of the 10 percent election threshold. “The government will not solve this issue, said the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair Selahatting Demirtas on March 24th in a press conference. The ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, since its coming to power 8 years ago promised to the Kurds that they will solve the Kurdish issue but the promises went to the air.

The Diyarbakir mayor, Osman Beydemir, the head of Democratic Society Party Ahmed Turk, as well as other active politicians, activists, and Members of Parliament participated in the sit-in. Demirtas and other leading protesters have made it very clear that the people will be using “completely democratic, peaceful methods ” in achieving their objectives. But just as it has been in Turkey’s tradition of responding to Kurds’ demands, Turkish police started to remove the over 20,000 protesters by force and assaulting them. The plain-clothed policemen did not think that due to respect of Turkey’s parliament (not even for the sake of the protesters), to treat the Members of Parliament with respect who were peacefully voicing frustration to the 90-plus years old problem that the government has not done anything to solve it.

Turkey must change its oppressive behavior and attitude towards the Kurds and must grant them their natural rights as humans and as an ethnic group. Turkey considers itself a democratic country yet it is still not lawful to have the 25-million Kurds learn education in their mother tongue; activists and politicians are still continually assaulted, kidnapped, and even murdered. BDP has already called for an Egypt-Style protest but it has not started with the model yet. The Turkish government must seriously now consider in reforming and giving long-deserving freedom to the Kurds before it has a huge chaos in its hands.