Demirtas: Erdogan came to power through an election, and he shall leave through an election
Arti Gercek reports that former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtas, who has been imprisoned in Edirne F-Type Prison since November 2016, spoke about Turkey and the world agenda.
Referring to the refugee problem, Demirtas called on people to "expose the hypocrisy of your governments" and said, "Expose their handshaking at every opportunity with an authoritarian like Erdogan as they use refugees as bargaining chips.”
Demirtas, through the German broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) COSMO, answered questions from director Fatih Akin, writers Gunter Wallraff and Navid Kermani, journalists Can Dundar, Fulya Cansen, Frederike Geerdink, Sven Lorig, Dunja Hayali, Gor Yeranyan, Mark Lowen, Hasnain Kazim, Nadja Kriewald and former Amedspor player Deniz Naki.
According to an article in BBC Turkish, Selahattin Demirtas responded to the question, “Is it possible for Erdogan to go with this election?" from journalist Hasnain Kazim with Der Spiegel magazine. Demirtas said, “Erdogan came with the election, he will go with the election, there is no other possibility. We only have to wait another four months to see this. If anyone does not recognize the election result, then the public will not recognize him and will bring the palace of those who try to stage a coup crashing down.”
“HDP DID ITS HISTORICAL PART TO PUSH BACK THE AUTHORITARIAN REGIME”
The former HDP Co-Chair also responded to WDR Editor Fulya Cansen’s question: “The HDP offered a kind gesture to the CHP in the municipal elections in Istanbul. Did it pay off? Is it necessary to make a similar gesture again?" Demirtas said, "The HDP did not make any gestures to anyone in the last local elections, in fact, it just fulfilled its historical duty and responsibility for the growth of the struggle for democracy and the decline of the authoritarian regime." Demirtas said that the HDP will act with that same sense of responsibility and awareness going forward.
“AS LONG AS WESTERN LEADERS DON’T STAND IN OUR WAY, WE WANT NO OTHER FAVORS”
Mark Lowen, the former Istanbul correspondent of the BBC who works in Rome, posed the question, "What would you like Western countries and leaders to do regarding your continued detention, what kinds of sanctions would you like them to impose, and do you think their pressure could sway the decisions of the Turkish government?"
Demirtas said, "I want to give a very clear answer to your question, Mark, and I will not beat around the bush” Referring to Diogenes as he remarked, “So long as Western leaders stand out of our sun, we do not want any other favors,” Demirtas continued:
"It would have been enough for us if they had not done so much business with Erdogan, had not signed such dirty deals. We were not expecting their direct support, but it would have been better if they were at least not a hindrance."
“THE NAME OF THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE 'REFUGEE PROBLEM', IT IS A ‘FORCED DISPLACEMENT’ PROBLEM”
Presenter of German channel n-tv television, Nadja Kriewald asked, "How do you think the refugee problem should be solved?" While answering the question, Demirtas stated:
"The name of the problem is not the 'refugee problem,’ it is the problem of 'forced displacement.’ Defining the issue in this way makes it easier for us to put forward a more realistic and fair perspective on the causes and solutions to the problem."
“EACH MUST FACE THE TRUTH AND GIVE AN HONEST ANSWER”
Demirtas emphatically noted, "Who forcibly displaced whom and why? Every European, Canadian, American, or Turkish citizen should ask this question to themself, to their government and to their state, and then face the truth and give an honest answer."
CALL FROM DEMİRTAS TO EUROPEAN STATES AND GOVERNMENTS
Reminding readers that the mines, wealth, and resources of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia were plundered by European companies under modern colonialism while peoples in that part of the world suffer from starvation, Demirtas said:
“The peoples of Europe, on the other hand, worry over whether red wine or white wine will go best with their medium-cooked steaks in sparkling restaurants.
The solution? It is very simple; either you share your high-speed trains, steaks, and wines with the partners of those goods, namely the refugees, or you return what you stole from them for 300 years to their countries, and you wholeheartedly help them build democratic governments and a prosperous society in their own lands and encourage them to return to their countries. That would be the fairest appeal I can make to European states and governments."
“THE TRAGEDY OF REFUGEES IS HISTORIC”
Emphasizing that all other search for solutions is exclusionary, marginalizing, hurtful, and temporary, Demirtas said, "Already, all European governments, including the Erdogan government, see refugees as a political bargaining and blackmail chip, and treat them as a security issue. However, the tragedy inflicted on refugees is historical and is a problem of justice and equality."
Demirtas, who stated that he received training on refugee rights from many European civil society organizations when he was a young lawyer, also noted:
"The Europeans were teaching us the rights and the law of refugees. But when the refugees reached the European border, the Europeans who gave us those trainings started to bury the refugees in the dark waters of the Mediterranean," he said.
“IF YOU WERE IN ERDOGAN’S SHOES, WOULD YOU HEED THIS EUROPEAN LAW?”
Demirtas, who said that a mere 10 kilometers away from his prison, Greece tortures, strips naked, and confiscates the money of asylum seekers before pushing them back to Turkey, remarked:
"The same Europe, through the European Court of Human Rights, decided that my rights had been gravely violated and requested my release, and the Turkish government announced that it did not recognize this decision of the European Court of Human Rights. If you were in Erdogan's shoes, would you heed this European law? Erdogan does not take it seriously, either.”
“EXPOSE THE DUPLICITY OF YOUR OWN GOVERNMENTS”
“I do not believe in Europe, but in the peoples, political groups, and individuals who resist in Europe. If you want to do something for me and for us, expose the hypocrisy of your own governments, oppose their policies of exploitation. Expose their handshaking at every opportunity with an authoritarian like Erdogan as they use refugees as bargaining chips.
You can't save us, and neither can we save you. But we can fight together and survive together. That is, we do it all together or do nothing at all!"
TO GUNTER WALLRAFF: "YOU ARE ONE OTHER REASON THAT I AM IN PRISON”
Demirtas, who from time to time gives humorous answers, said the following in response to the question of Gunter Wallraff, the author of the book "Lowest of the Low," which describes the working conditions of miners from Turkey in Germany:
"You are another reason why I am in prison, along with Tolstoy, Marx, Balzac, Ahmedê Xanî, Lenin, Che, Dickens, Nazim Hikmet, Ahmed Arif!”