Mr. Faysal Sariyildiz, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP MP representing Şırnak, answered Washington Hatti’s Melike Gul Demir’s questions:
Different social segments in Turkey joined their forces for the ”NO” campaign
M.G. Demir: Can you tell us how the election campaign is going?
Mr. Sariyildiz: Almost all of our staff to run an efficient referendum campaign is in prison right now. We continue [our campaign] with scarce resources and intensive effort, work and help of our people. The same thing is happening in Europe as well. It seems to me that, and especially after everything happened last year, different social segments in Turkey united on the “NO” front.
We are faced with a government which through blackmail and scare tactics manipulates consent and utilizes state resources for the YES campaign. In Kurdistan, the governor, the district governor, the military and the police are either threatening or bribing the public to vote YES.
I must point out that YES is not a legitimate position. Despite all of this, NO is ahead in the surveys. But the voters need stronger motivation and morale for NO to win; they need to participate and monitor the elections. If we can keep the motivation and morale high and if the participation is high NO will win. Monitoring the count is critical, we have a political power that is willing to scheme. We have about 15 years of experience of their duplicity.
People are organizing by themselves without the help of any leadership
At the moment 13 of our parliamentarians, including the co-presidents of the party and about 750 party administrators are in jail. This actually amounts to about 70 to 80 percent of our organization. Those who are not in prison are in hiding, so they cannot actively participate in the campaign. But despite all this, as in Newroz, our people are forming grassroots organizations for the NO campaign.
We are facing many obstructions and interferences [from the government], for example, our campaign song is banned, the government forces block our campaign busses for various reasons. In Kurdistan, not just our party members and campaign workers but anyone who campaigns for NO is threatened. The police and the military are openly threatening everyone. Especially since July 15, the people are being terrorized without any respect to the law.
I don’t have a province to represent when I go back
Terrible things happened in Cizre. In the last century, we have faced oppression and many massacres. But this is the first time we faced such an overt abuse and so many crimes of war. 143 people, among them university students, journalists, and artists were burnt alive as the whole world looked on. Turkish government set them on fire on the live broadcast. In the first basement [that was set on fire] people were on their phone screaming for help.
For the first time in the history of the Republic, the cities of Kurdistan were attacked with tanks. We had already witnessed the village being burned down. But for the first time, the cities where hundreds of thousands of people lived were wiped off the map. I am the Sirnak representative in the parliament. I don’t have a province to represent anymore. Although there is a name on the map, there is no place called Sırnak anymore. Seventy percent of the people of the residents of Şırnak had to move out. Even if they go back, they don’t have a house, a shelter to live in.
It was Doomsday in Cizre
Hundreds of thousands of people had to leave their homes in Cizre, their houses are destroyed. Hundreds of people were murdered horribly. All of this was reported by the UN. Despite the limited access to what was happening in Cizre, the UN report said it was doomsday there. The situation there is a crime against humanity, it is a war crime. The UN is avoiding using these terms for now because they know it will lead to sanctions [against Turkey].
UN Inspection Report
I wrote about the urgency of the situation to the UN, the European Union, the European Council, the European Court of Human Rights before anyone died in Cizre before the atrocities were committed before almost 150 people have been slaughtered in three different basements. I warned them that these activists, civilians could be killed. I asked for their help to stop these deaths, but nothing was done.
Later, after most of these people were set on fire alive, we again made calls [to the same institutions] surrounded by the remains and the debris to observe and report. What happened there is a crime against humanity. Once again they didn’t do anything. Months after the events, pressured by the human rights groups UN voiced concerns about the events. Turkey refused the request for a commission review. [Turkish government’s refusal] was an admission of guilt.
But the tide is changing, some in Europe now started to express their concerns about the situation in Turkey. Many [politicians] are expressing their worries that Turkey is slowly moving towards a dictatorship.
M.G.Demir: Turkey calls YPG terrorists, and fighting with much of Rojova forces whenever possible. How do you evaluate the situation in Rojova currently?
Mr. Sariyildiz: Rojava forces have fought against ISIS, a terrorist group that turns into the Middle East a graveyard of peoples, laborers, and beliefs. The volunteer defence forces of Rojava have fought against ISIS so effectively.
Rojava has emerged as a militant force fighting against ISIS, even though ISIS had controlled a significant part of Iraq and Syria. The volunteers in Rojava have stopped the terrorist group.
Without doubt, the victory to be win in Rojava, it would be the victory of the peoples of Turkiye and the workers!
Kurdish men and women have tried to defend the region from ISIS militia men with limited ammunition and inadequate weapons, compared to sophisticated weapons in the hands of ISIS.
After succeding the battle to defend Rojava, Western media and politicians have started to give help the brave Kurdish women who are fighting against ISIS and its brutal treatment of humanity.
It is also Rojava of philosopohy is a new way of social life. It is believed that In order to move beyond hierarchy and domination, a new way of thinking is necessary to recognize the unity in diversity of social life.
As a result, the goverment wants to a new life of ideology in Rojava is narrowed down. The system in Rojava based on a direct democracy the gender equalities, minority rights, even though there have a ruling hegemony in the current world order.
We have faced that the goverment both helps deliver arms to parts of Syria and their weapons, and transport to under Islamist rebel control region.
An operation has been spearheaded by the SDF and its military wing, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), began besiege Raqqa and eradicate IS in one of its main strongholds in Syria. The succees drives the government insane. The Rojava Revolution has presented a model which enabled all peoples there to express themselves freely and rule themselves,
The goverment sees this as a danger for their power, consuguences the Rojava victory means victory of the peasants, and the peoples in Turkey. The intervention of Turkey in Al-Bab was also not legitimate. the Rojava has presented a model which enabled all peoples there to express themselves as freely and rule themselves. The Goverment doesn’t tolerate this system which was created as an alternative to all the present systems in the world. Unable to accept this alternative system and the gains of the people in Syria.
Without doubt, the victory to be win in Rojava, it would be the victory of the peoples of Turkiye and the workers.
We are in Europe now. Every people has right to vote for referendum across the world.
The multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk includes most of Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen. They make a decision, also the decision of Kirkuk’s provincial council. And I think that according the constitution, Kirkuk’s provincial council is entitled to make such a decision. The statement of the government is not legitimate nor legal regarding Kirkuk. It’s all about hegemonic purposes.
The goverment should be motivating to all people who is Turkmen, Arab, Kurdish people, Chaldeans and Assyrians in Kirkuk to live together equaly, freely and respect to their religions, rights. It should be treated them all equally, have been served all parties without difference and have been continuing in this kind of work and service.
Going back to Turkey
Mr. Sariyildiz: I’m living in here because of my party desicion. After the devastation in Kurdistan, I came to Europe from Cizre, district of Sirnak. Incident of Cizre probably one of the greatest crimes against humanity of the 21st century. I have witnessed serious war crimes.