Will the enemy of the Kurds be their ‘hope?’ – İlnur Çevik

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Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth had much praise for ultra nationalist Meral Akşener and her opposition Good Party (İP) and predicted that Kurds in southeastern Turkey will vote for her party in the June 24 elections.That is extremely interesting judging from the fact that in the past, Akşener was regarded by Turkey’s Kurds as enemy No. 1, especially after she called secessionist PKK terrorist leader Abdullah Öcalan a “product of an Armenian” in a parliamentary speech in 1996. The fact that she was the interior minister of Turkey at the time and the fact that she was a hawk who led the Kurdish crackdown speaks for itself.

She was a deputy from the ultra conservative Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) until 2016 and was thrown out to form her own ultra nationalist party. She was known for her continuous hawkish attitude against the Kurds as a MHP deputy.

German Minister Roth, who led a delegation to visit the Good Party headquarters in Ankara, said the Kurdish voters of southeastern Turkey are caught in the middle between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Kurdish nationalist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and said “we predict that these voters will support you.”

Overjoyed by these remarks Akşener told the visiting minister, “The Good Party has become the source of hope for our citizens in southeastern Turkey. The people sincerely believe that we will solve the Kurdish issue. No one should have any suspicions that after June 24 we will live together with fraternal bonds.”

It seems no one really told the minister about Akşener’s past and her ardent enmity toward Turkey’s Kurds. That she was a member of a party that sanctioned the burning down of Kurdish villages and the execution of Kurdish activists in southeastern Turkey. So much so that Turkey had to pay heavy fines because of the village burnings thanks to the verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights.

So her statements that she will solve the “Kurdish problem” are really very ironic and hypocritical.

Is Roth aware that it was Akşener who opposed the HDP from entering the opposition alliance and thus opening the way for it to overcome the 10 percent threshold in the elections? The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) wanted the HDP in the alliance and yet Akşener opposed saying she did not want to be seen in the same alliance with the pro-Kurdish party. This is the Akşener who Roth hopes will be supported by the people of southeastern Turkey.

But that is not all. Under normal circumstances Roth’s visit would have been regarded as a normal political gesture, but when you consider the fact that Germany has banned Turkish politicians and especially AK Party members or even nongovernmental organizations related to the AK Party from campaigning among the millions of Turks living in that country, then his statements on the Good Party are awkward at the very least.

The minister says he supports the democratic process in Turkey and free and fair elections and yet he does not allow the AK Party a free hand to explain to the Turkish voters in Germany its views. Is this how democracy works? It only suggests that the Germans do not want another Recep Tayyip Erdoğan victory and are now hoping Akşener will do the trick.





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