22 March 2016
Peoples’ Democratic Party co-chair Selahattin Demirtas made a call for peace and a return to the negotiation table at the Amed Newroz celebration yesterday.
Speaking at the event attended by hundreds of thousands of people, Demirtas said “We, as the HDP, are ready to take responsibility for the resolution process to restart. The government and state need to comprehend the message being sent from Diyarbakir (Amed)… We are sending the resistance in Kurdistan as a letter of peace to Imrali, to president Öcalan. We are loyal to the road for peace he has laid, to the road map in the Dolmabahçe Agreement.”
Below is a summary of Demirtas’ speech:
Peace is not a fantasy…
“We celebrated Newroz with hope and messages of peace for the past three years. But this year we are celebrating it among death. For three years we saw that peace wasn't a fantasy. We saw that if we commit to equality peace is possible. Despite everything that is happening, we are here today in a Newroz of peace, telling the whole world we want peace.
“We cannot come together in an environment of anti-democratic, illegal practices. Only law and democracy can bring us together. The Middle East is experiencing a historic time. There is no doubt many international powers want to design the region according to their own interests. Our struggle is aware of this. But as long as those who are ruling this country from Ankara see the demands of the people as a threat and threaten the people, peace is difficult. If we want to come together we need to agree on democratic principles.
"Unfortunately the government does not have the right mentality and it's analysis of this process is wrong. The Kurdish people only want peace and security. They want only what has been taken from them. It is not easy to demand peace when the whole region is awash in a blood-bath. But believe me, to be principled and moral in these difficult times, is the right thing to do. The people of Diyarbakir have sent this message today.
End the enmity against Kurds
“We cannot develop policies with threats. Everyone must comprehend that denying the Kurds their rights and threatening them with elimination is not compatible with a peace process. The sounds of explosions must stop if the cry for peace is to be heard. We as the HDP are ready to take responsibility for a return to the negotiation table and to develop a new language of peace. This needs courage.
“The AKP cannot unify society. Society in Turkey is plural, it has different ideological viewpoints and lifestyles, therefore a party cannot be a unifying structure; neither can threats, racism and fascism. We can only come together around democratic principles. Only then can the Kurdish people gain their democratic rights and we can democratise Turkey. Only then can we be a remedy to the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Syria. Only then can we lead the way for peace in the region. Those who are basing their policies on anti-Kurdish sentiment and to prevent Kurds from gaining rights in Rojava are losing and making everyone else lose.
Other parties want more war
“We need to take lessons from the recent peace process and go back to the table. This is what we were elected for. The wounds and pain of our people is deep. Of course this resistance will continue until victory, but what needs to be comprehended is that the Kurds are not resisting for more war, they are resisting for peace.
"We have suggestions for a solution to the Kurdish question, however rather than listening to these, theyare trying to eliminate us. The HDP was founded on the principle of struggling for the rights of Kurds and Turks. To attack us is to attack a solution. Today there are no political parties talking of peace apart from the HDP. They (AKP, CHP, MHP) all want more military operations and more deaths; these parties cannot offer Turkey anything.
Let this be the Newroz for a resolution
“Maybe those who wanted to take a few votes from us are not aware, but they are sinking their own ship. This has been the case in all countries with internal conflict. Against this, we must show that it is possible for different peoples to live together without denying anyone’s culture. Our political line for self-governance has been created against centralisation, the imposition of a single language, single leader and single nation mentality. This is why supporting and expanding the HDP means supporting and growing a resolution. We want to make this Newroz a means for a resolution of the Kurdish question.
The important thing is to do good
“We are not going to turn a blind-eye to the killing of our children. As long as we are alive we are going to struggle for peace. Ankara (the government) needs to hear the cry that is rising from here. You tried to intimidate us, to make us surrender, to suppress us, but it didn’t work. Don’t insist on this. Let’s give our people peace as a present. Let’s put an end to the tears shed by Turkish and Kurdish mothers. Let’s form the conditions for peace. The call for peace is valuable but we want it to turn into practice too. The important thing is not to speak good, but to do good.”