Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baydemir: We want a regional parliament

27 October 2010

If it is a crime to demand my culture, identity, language then yes I am a criminal, says mayor of Diyarbakir

In response to the accusations on ‘terrorism’ Mayor of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir said: “If it is a crime to demand my culture, identity, language then yes I am a criminal.” Baydemir further said that they are not against the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) but they also want a local parliament.

Mayor of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir who is among those Kurdish elected representatives and human rights defenders who are on trial in KCK case gave an interview to the French newspaper L’Humanite.

“I am a lawyer myself but the number of the convictions against me 4 times higher than my clients”

Baydemir said although they are elected in a democratic way they are on trial for “harming the state security”. He added: “I am a lawyer since 1995 and the number of the investigations and convictions against me 4 times higher than my clients. It can be said that AKP is very talented in hiding and showing the thing the other way around, like launching black as white. In 2006, amendment happened in the law and hundreds of 12, 13 year-old children were tried, convicted and even some of them were given 30-year imprisonment. That time no one said anything. But three months ago, when the government slightly changed the law EU representatives congratulated the government and completely forgot about the beginning of the law.”

Some defendants will be released just to please the EU

Baydemir continued: “Kurdish problem has nothing to do with terrorism. It is a struggle for justice, freedom and equality. Europe should be aware of this fact. However, unfortunately they are contented with the one-side information coming from the Turkish state. The last few years their representatives are no longer visiting the Kurdistan region. Their visits and observance are limited to Ankara and Istanbul. They are accepting whatever the government tells them about the Kurdish issue. However, the European governments and EU institutions should get this information confirmed and therefore meet BDP and other Kurdish representatives. In order to pressurize the European governments to change their policies a public pressure is required. Media has a crucial role in this. L’Humanite is the only international press observing the trial in Diyarbakir. The others are following it from Istanbul which shows their approach very clearly. Some defendants will be released in order to please Europe but there will be more arrests too. We will not be able to gain anything before the court. It depends on the French and European public opinion and their reaction.”

The example of Catalonia

Concerning the terrorism accusations Baydemir said: “If it is a crime to defend human rights and democracy then I am committing crime. If it is a crime to demand my culture, identity, language then I am a criminal and we will continue with this crime until all our rights are recognised. We are not asking for too much. We are demanding a democratic Turkey and an autonomous Kurdistan at local. We are not against the parliament in Ankara but we also want a regional parliament. We are not against Turkish being the official language but we want Kurdish to be an official language. Just like Catalonia in Spain. This is the 29th rebellion of the Kurds and we will continue until this reality is recognised.”