Erdogan’s War on Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Political Leaders and MPs

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Erdogan’s War on Turkey’s Pro-Kurdish Political Leaders and MPs
by Stephen Lendman
Despite ISIS claiming responsibility for a car-bombing in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, killing at least nine and injuring scores more, Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the incident.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, along with 11 deputies, were arrested and detained in overnight raids – Yildirim saying they should “pay the price (for engaging in) terror. Politics cannot be a shield for committing a crime.”
They committed no crimes, the arrests and detentions part of Erdogan’s war to eliminate pro-Kurdish political representation. In central Ankara, police raided HDP’s headquarters.
Last May, pro-Erdogan legislators approved a constitutional amendment, stripping immunity from MPs – the measure targeting pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP) MPs and others expressing opposition to tyranny under his leadership.
They’re vulnerable to expulsion from parliament, arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment on charges of criticizing the president, terrorism and/or treason.
At the time, HDO co-chairmen Demirtas and Yuksekdag called the constitutional amendment “a political coup attempt to completely destroy the separation of powers by subordinating the legislative to the executive and leaving the former to the mercy of a thoroughly politicized and biased judiciary.”
“This coup would be a most crucial step for Erdogan to replace Turkey’s parliamentary democracy, which he has twice declared ‘de facto over,’ with an absolutist presidential system in which the legislative, executive and judiciary powers are virtually monopolized by the president himself.”
Following the failed July military coup, mass arrests and detentions followed, targeting military, government, judiciary, police, civil servants, and other civilian personnel. 
Everyone opposing Erdogan’s iron-fisted rule remains vulnerable – notably Kurdish parliamentarians and member of its civil society.
Western leaders and their spokespersons criticize his actions, yet do nothing to deter him. Via Twitter, the HDP “call(ed) (on) the international community to react against (his) Regime’s coup.”
Days earlier, Diyarbakir HDP Mayor Gultan Kisanak and co-Mayor Firat Anli were arrested for alleged PKK membership. Numerous other mayors and administrators were removed.
Since the July coup attempt, over 110,000 arrests, detentions or suspensions followed. Numerous opposition media organizations were shut down.
On November 5, nine Cumhuriyet broadsheet personnel were arrested, including its editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, journalists and board members – falsely accused of supporting the July coup.
Last year, its previous editor-in-chief, Can Dundar, and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul were arrested and detained – accused of espionage and treason for publishing photos of Ankara intelligence smuggling weapons to ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria.
Erdogan warned anyone opposing his regime will “pay a heavy price.” Despots operate this way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.