In Russia, Turkey / Türkiye

RT.com, Monday, Dec 21, 2015

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (photos by Reuters )

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (photos by Reuters )

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is planning a meeting with the co-leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, this week, according to sources in the Foreign Ministry. “Such a meeting is planned,” a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti.

Earlier, Demirtas said that he would hold a meeting in Moscow with Lavrov on Thursday, Turkish media reported. The opposition leader said he wanted “to talk about the recent tension between Turkey and Russia” during the visit. “Many people, many businesspeople and students, are affected by this tension. Turkey does not take a step [to improve relations]. The president has closed all doors. We are effective and we want to use our power,” he said.

He added that HDP is seeking to “open a party office in Moscow.”

News of Turkish government’s resumption of war in the southeast of country: Turkey has resumed military attacks against the Kurdish regions in the southeast of the country. Curfews were declared five days ago. News coverage of the situation is provided on the website of ANF News.

The HDP is relatively new to Turkish politics. It was founded in 2012 as the political wing of a union of several left-wing groups. Those include proponents of women’s rights and gay rights, secularists, anti-capitalists and environmentalists involved in the Gezi Park protests.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the HDP of being a front for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turkish state since 1984 for Kurdish self-determination. The organization is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and NATO.

Town of Silvan in Kurdish region of southerneastern Turkey following government attacks on Nov 10, 2015 (Ilyas Akengin, AFP)

Town of Silvan in Kurdish region of southerneastern Turkey following government attacks on Nov 10, 2015 (Ilyas Akengin, AFP)

During Ankara’s recent military crackdown in southeast Turkey, the HDP severely criticized Turkish authorities over violence toward the Kurdish population. Kurds make up between 10 percent and 25 percent of Turkey’s population.

The HDP has endured dozens of attacks across Turkey. One of the deadliest took place in October, where dozens of people were killed and scores injured in two blasts at a peace rally in the Turkish capital, Ankara. HDP then claimed that their members were especially targeted in the deadly explosions.

“Just after the beginning of the march …two bomb attacks occurred among the HDP cortege. For this reason, it is understood that the main target of the attacks was the HDP,” the party said.

Demirtas blamed the government for the attack, saying that it was part of Erdogan’s campaign against the Kurds. “The government’s right and opportunity to hum and haw has long expired. You are murderers. Your hand is bloody. Blood has splattered from your face, your mouth to your nails and all over you. You are the biggest supporters of terror,” Demirtas said.

Moscow-Ankara relations have soured recently after Turkish military downed a Russian Su-24 bomber close to the Syrian border. Ankara refused to apologize, saying that the Russian aircraft violated Turkish airspace – a claim that Moscow denies. Russian since then has accused Turkey of buying smuggled oil from ISIS and has imposed economic sanctions.

Additional news on New Cold War.org of HDP party delegation visit to Moscow:

Turkey’s left-wing, pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas departs for visit to Moscow, Dec 21, 2015

HDP co-chair Demirtaş to meet Russian foreign minister in Moscow

Anadolu News Agency, Dec 21, 2015  (full text)

The co-chair of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has said he will be traveling to Moscow to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Dec. 23. HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş made the announcement on Dec. 19 on a program aired by a local television network in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

“On Wednesday [Dec. 23] we will meet Foreign Minister Lavrov. We will also open a party office in Moscow,” he said. “We are influential, and want to use our power,” he added.

Tension between Turkey and Russia remains high following the former’s shooting down of a military jet of the latter last month over an alleged airspace violation. After the incident, Russia imposed a range of unilateral sanctions against Turkey, including a ban on food imports.

Referring to the recent tension with Russia caused by the downing of a Russian jet near the Syrian border, Demirtaş said Turkey has not taken steps to improve relations with the country. “We plan to talk about the recent tension between Turkey and Russia during our visit. Many people, many businesspeople and students, are affected by this tension. Turkey does not take a step [to improve relations]. The president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] has closed all doors. We are effective and we want to use our power,” he said.

“We want to help those who have problems, those who have Turkish passports and are having troubles. We will open a bureau in Moscow as well,” he added.

Read also:
Istanbul police fire tear gas on protesters rallying over crackdown in Kurdish areas, RT.com, Dec 20, 2015
     ‘The protesters gathered to demonstrate against security operations and curfews in the southeast, where more than 100 have been killed this week.’

Will Turkey end up stuck between Russian hammer and Kurdish anvil?, commentary by Kadri Gursel, published in Al-Monitor, Dec 18, 2015

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