Greater Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America Statement on the Turkish Oppression of the HDP

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a socialist party representing the Kurdish minority and other oppressed groups in Turkey, is currently under siege by President Erdogan’s Interior Ministry.

On Monday, the democratically elected HDP mayors of the cities of Van, Mardin, and Diyarbakir were removed from office on politically motivated ‘terror’ charges and replaced with state trustees. Today, Turkish police are assaulting people protesting the decision— including elected HDP MPs.

This is not the first time Erdogan has used state power to brutally suppress Kurdish efforts to pursue their human rights through the Turkish political process. In 2016, 94 HDP mayors, several HDP MPs, and thousands of HDP party members were unjustly detained. Today, there are over 6,000 HDP political prisoners in Turkey— including the party’s co-chairs, Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas.

What did HDP do to deserve this treatment? They won elections on a socialist platform that values the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and the labor movement. They called for a peaceful foreign policy, not just for Turkey but for the Middle East and the entire world. They asked for anti-corruption measures. They demanded the right for oppressed communities, including Kurds, Armenians, Alevis, Assyrians, and others, to be able to speak their own language, celebrate their culture, and practice their religion without being demoted to second class citizenship. And they struggled against environmental destruction— such as the forest fires set by the Turkish military in Kurdish regions and the flooding of the 12,000-year-old city of Hasankeyf.

As socialists, we stand in solidarity with our comrades in the HDP. We call on the U.S. government— which has historically been the primary backer of the Turkish state’s war against its Kurdish population— to end arms sales to Turkey. We ask all of our fellow Americans to do the same, and we encourage all those who value human rights to boycott Turkish products until this fascist treatment of the HDP and all of the oppressed peoples of Turkey is brought to an end.