Undoubtedly, votes from the southeast of Turkey will be one of the most important determinants of the June 24 elections. All candidates are especially ambitious to get votes from the southeast of Turkey, in other words, to get Kurdish votes. But, what do they do to get these votes?
When looking at the election pledges, in particular to Kurds and in general to the southeast, the Kurdish issue seems strangely wasted away in parties' rhetoric, including that of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Clearly, no one can say anything worthwhile about the Kurdish issue besides Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He strikingly expresses that Kurds are equal citizens and owners of Turkey by saying "Kurds already have a state, which is the Republic of Turkey.” He explains that imperialists try to have the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its extensions to establish formations that have no any meaning other than disorder, which could endanger peace and lead to an invasion in the region. He explains with examples that at this point we are at the end of Kurdish issue, not the beginning. The banning of the Kurdish language, pressure on the Kurdish identity, and denial and assimilation policies are completely over. "If there is someone who feels pressure and oppression because of being a Kurd, come directly to me".
But now it is time to protect Kurds against the terror that tries to enslave them and makes them the target of the imperialist invasion. If there's a problem, that's it now. Do not heed presidential candidate Muharrem İnce who shouted, ''There is Kurdish issue, we accept it,'' at the top of his lungs at a rally in Dıyarbakır. That shriek didn't have the slightest influence on anyone's heart or ears at all in that square. Because those words have a 90-year context for the Republican People's Party (CHP) and a 16-year context for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party. Those words today in Diyarbakır were totally out of date, out of context, and, more accurately, besides the point. Because everything that could be said and done was said and done by Erdoğan.
When Erdoğan said, "We have a Kurdish issue and we will solve it" in the very same square on August 12 in 2005, that promise found a place among words; that promise found its exact value, meaning, respect in every house of Dıyarbakir and in the hearts, memories and experience of all Kurds.
Of course, there were also those who were enraged upon hearing these words. Those who deemed 80 years of atrocities targeting Kurds proper had another reason for the elimination of Erdoğan, whom they did not like from the beginning. Erdoğan confronted despotic tyrants to solve the Kurdish issue and became their target. They attempted a coup numerous times, filed a case to have the party, which was the only ruling party, shut; moreover, they repeatedly attempted assassination. Despite all this, Erdoğan didn't give up on the democratic initiative, the solution process, and said, "If necessary, I will drink poison, so long as this issue is settled, "and brought the issue to the present conditions.
Now, when he says, "There is no Kurdish issue," this takes on a completely different meaning than those who said it in the past. Those who used to say it were saying it for the denial of Kurds in the past, whereas Erdoğan is stressing it to point out what he has done on this issue, and he is absolutely right. That's why his statement is highly esteemed by people.
That is why there is nothing new that other parties and candidates, including the HDP, can pledge to the Kurds. There only remains demanding the freedom of Selahattin Demirtaş, HDP’s presidential candidate and former co-chair.
Is the Kurdish issue limited to freeing Demirtaş?
Can you imagine that the problem of the southeast and the Kurdish issue is based completely on this? Crowds filling the square in the Dıyarbakir rally, no matter what Muharrem İnce said, only shout the slogan: "Freedom for Demirtaş."
Aside from the fact that it was a sign that none of those who came to listen to İnce would vote for him, can you see the strangeness that freeing Demirtaş was turned into an election promise and a right, that is to be given to Kurds? Meral Aksener, Temel Karamollaoglu and Muharrem İnce; they all had nothing to pledge to the Kurds but Demirtaş’s freedom.
What can a political view, which basically deems that it is enough promising them the ''freedom of Demirtas'' just to please them or to get Kurdish votes, give Kurds? Is Demirtaş's release from prison really a more important issue than all problems that Kurds are facing now?
Essentially, instead of using the great political opportunity offered to him by the people who gave him 80 seats in parliament on June 7, Demirtaş showed that he was never free from the moment he had been exposed to the PKK coup and basically accepted the position to be PKK's political spokesperson; he proved that he was a hostage in the hands of the PKK and the forces that support it.
Do you think that Demirtaş, who is currently in prison, will be freer when he is released? Demirtaş cannot be used enough by those forces because he is in prison right now. That's the only reason why his freedom is desired. The reason of his imprisonment cannot be overlooked with defective dramas. He's not in jail because he's a political opponent. Rather, he is being detained for the deaths of at least 53 people because of provocations that he made during the Kobani incidents alone. All brutal murders that occurred after that provocation happened before the eyes of public. He is on trial for supporting trench terrorism, the attempt to bring the invasion of the Syrian canton into Turkey and the massacres carried out during that period.
That is why the Kurds are mad at Demirtaş, who made benefits available to terrorists instead of conducting politics as a requirement of his voters’ trust. They are angry with him because he been the political spokesman for terrorists who destroyed their homes and invaded their privacy.
They are angry with him because he cannot keep his distance from terrorist organizations trying to prepare the country for foreign occupation instead of representing Kurds. They are both angry with him and feel pity for him, because they also know that he did not do all of this of his own free will.