Erdogan says Demirtas is not Kurdish, cannot represent Kurds
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan targeted the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), saying that the imprisoned former co-chair of the party "is not Kurdish."
Speaking at an opening ceremony in Turkey's largest Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir on Sunday, Erdogan said:
"They are Kurdish only in name, they have nothing else to do with being a Kurd. We will not fall in their trap. I believe my brothers in Diyarbakir will hold them accountable for what they have done."
Erdogan then targeted Selahattin Demirtas, the former HDP leader who has been imprisoned in Turkey's western province of Edirne for six years. He said:
"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."
Erdogan referred to international human rights organizations as "the chimpanzee of the West," as he complained that the representatives of such organizations have not yet paid a visit of solidarity to the "Diyarbakir Mothers."
"We have not abandoned Diyarbakir Mothers to the chimpanzees of the West (...) Where are those Western defenders of human rights? Have they even once come to visit Diyarbakir Mothers? They have nothing to do with being human rights defenders. They are merely stage artists."
The Diyarbakir Mothers is a group of people who have been staging protests for some years, with the support of the Erdogan administration and the government media, against HDP who they claim have helped the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) "abduct" their children, most of whom actually joined the PKK in early ages.
Erdogan also said: "The color of Diyarbakir is neither the exploitation of the PKK, nor the perversion of the HDP. It is the brotherhood, love and unity that you have demonstrated today."
HDP received 66% of the vote in Diyarbakir in the last parliamentary election, while over 64% also voted for Selahattin Demirtas who was the presidential candidate for HDP in 2018.