Demirtas responds to Erdogan's "not Kurdish" remark
The imprisoned former leader of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) responded to the Turkish President's remark that "he is not Kurdish."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a crowd in the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir on Sunday:
"Does the person who is imprisoned in Edirne have anything to do with being Kurdish? He is not Kurdish. But he still exploits my Kurdish brothers."
Demirtas responded to Erdogan from Edirne prison on Monday with a message posted on Twitter by his lawyers. He said:
"He is so carried away with being a one-man ruler that he decides even what my identity is!"
After Erdogan's remark, the hashtag "Kurdish" has quickly become one of the hottest trending topics on Twitter in Turkey with messages posted both in favor of his remark and in protest.
Cemal Enginyurt, an ultranationalist deputy who is currently part of the opposition bloc, said:
"Mr. Erdogan, what was it that you've tried to say? Are you Kurdish? Will you be the one who'll defend and exploit them? You only saw hostility within the Nation. Kurds now know you better."
Sırrı Sakık, former deputy and former mayor of the Kurdish-majority city of Agri, said:
"Here's a brief history of being a Kurd in Turkey:
- There are no Kurds, there is only kart-kurt [reference to military coup leader Kenan Evren who said in early 1980s that there is no such thing as being a Kurd, and that Turks who made crunching sounds as they walked in the snow have been called Kurds because of the sound]
- There are citizens of Kurdish origin
- Even though there might be Kurds, I decide who is a Kurds and who is not."
Sezgin Tanrıkulu, deputy for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and former chair of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, said:
"Now we've had it! Erdogan will decide from now on who is Kurdish and who is not, and on the ethnic origins of people."
A user named "Deniz" with over 34,000 followers said:
"Selahattin Demirtas is not alone. You are the one who is alone. The walls that you think you have erected to isolate Selahatin Demirtas from the people are worthless. Thousands of bodyguards and the walls of your palaces stand between you and the people. Selahattin Demirtas is not only Kurdish, but he is also Turkish, Lazi, Circassian. Full stop."