Nationalist attacks on Kurdish politicians in Turkey


On Saturday, a BDP congress in the province of Hatay in Turkey was attacked by nationalist Turks who were shouting insults at Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of BDP, the only pro-Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament.

The mob threw stones at buses with people leaving the congress. Many had to wait inside for the protest to calm down and Selahattin Demirtaş was escorted by two police vehicles. Many were wounded but not critically, BDP said in a written statement.

Only days earlier similar attacks took place in the provinces of Sinop and Samsun in the Black Sea area known for its nationalistic views. The attacks happened during a peace trip initiated by a group of mainly BDP lawmakers who wants to promote dialogue between the Turkish and the Kurdish people.

On February 18, a large group of Turkish ultranationalists in Sinop attacked the building where the peace delegation sought refuge, throwing stones and trying to get inside. The picture above shows a representative from the delegation who was injured by protesters in Sinop.

One of the BDP delegates, MP Sırrı Süreyya Önder, tweeted a picture of the delegation barricading themselves, saying they had to protect themselves because the police was not doing enough to keep the protesters away.

A day after, the same happened in Samsun outside the hotel when BDP was holding a press conference. The protesters outside were shouting “We don’t want PKK in Samsun”, thereby implying that BDP is a part of PKK, the Kurdish rebel group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in North Kurdistan (southeastern Turkey).

BDP cancelled the rest of the tour. The party’s Istanbul department released a statement that noted

“It is also attention-grabbing that police displayed a permissive attitude during the provocation of the mass.”

Adding to the attacks on Kurds, it was reported yesterday that 9 Kurdish soldiers in the Turkish army were wounded after a group of Turkish soldiers attacked them following accusations that the Kurds were terrorists. They were beaten with knives and clubs.