HDP deputies slam ‘Might of the Turk’ video shot in demolished Şırnak

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has blasted over a video showing that Turkish security forces demolished residential buildings in Şırnak province and using hate speech against Kurdish people on Friday.

Pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency reported that HDP’s Şırnak deputies Aycan İrmez, Faysal Sarıyıldız, Ferhat Encü and Leyla Birlik have issued a written statement on a video shot by Turkish soldiers where they say “You will see the might of the Turk.” It was said in the statement that “The AKP has lost the quality of coming to power alone after the elections of June 7, 2015 and the AKP and Erdoğan government have been trying to camouflage the legitimacy crisis they experienced with feeding the nationalist and racist hysteria and wreaking havoc in the Kurdish lands.”

The statement has continued as follows: “Paramilitary elements and counter-guerilla forces within the Turkish military laid waste to civilian places of residence in the Kurdish lands, hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes, and thousands have lost their lives. Severe human rights violations occurred during the months-long blockade and curfews. These violations have been included in reports by international institutions and the United Nations (UN) and were displayed for all to see again in a video circulating on social media.”

“The massacres, destruction, looting and pillaging operations launched under the guise of the curfews have created new traumas in the collective memory,” said the statement and added that “Şırnak is one of the cities most affected by this demolition operation the Turkish army have taken on in the Kurdish lands.”

Reminding that Şırnak wasn’t only burned and destroyed in 2015 – the city had suffered the same burnings and demolitions, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings during the 1990s in similar military operations, it was stated that “In the Şırnak city center, which has 12 neighborhoods, 8 neighborhoods have been burned and destroyed with tanks and artilleries first, then the ruins have been looted and pillaged under state supervision. The point the AKP and Erdoğan have dragged Turkey to is one where cities are destroyed by tank and artillery fire and the destruction is presented with pride.”

“The footage presented with pride as ‘the might of the Turk’ in the destruction of the Şırnak city center are images of racism and fascism,” said in the statement and added that “These images which have been seen before in other examples of colonialist regimes, are the crystallized version of Erdoğan’s and the Turkish military’s policies against the Kurds. The downward spiral of violence these destructive policies against the Kurdish society and the Kurdish lands pull Turkey into will bring about the end of the perpetrators of this destruction. Ancient and recent history are filled with examples that show and confirm this.”

Urging that “The presenting of the destruction in Şırnak as a glorious feat accompanied with racist hysteria and chants of fascism is clearly a sign of weakness and defeat,” the statement has claimed that “Erdoğan and the AKP government have lost all legitimacy and presence in the Kurdish lands, and they have lost their international legitimacy in trampling the laws of war and the principles of universal human rights. This footage that has apparently been taken by state forces in Şırnak are reminiscent of invaded territory, occupied through barbarism and held on to by force, rather than lands within the borders of Turkey.”

The statement has concluded that “Those responsible for the severe right to life violations and the destruction of civilian places of residence in the Kurdish lands, and in Şırnak in particular, will certainly answer for them in front of the law and history.”

Turkish authorities had conducted direct talks with the jailed PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan for several years until a truce in effect collapsed in the summer of 2015. Since then, there have been heavy clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between the Turkish state and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

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