Sometimes a picture is worth more than many analysis. Imagine a maximum security prison and a solitary confinement cell. Imagine a prison intended for the worst criminals and terrorists in the North-Western border, not far from Greece. As far as possible from the Kurdish South-East: this was the final destination where the HDP co-chair, the Democratic Peoples Party, Selahattin Demirtas was sent yesterday.
The co-president Figen Yuksekdag, had no better fate: she was also sent to a high security prison but located in Kocaeli, north east of Istanbul. This is how the Turkish government is treating democratically elected parliamentarians accused of terrorism charges, of which the prosecutor has shown no evidence.
And the nature of the alleged accomplice PKK can be debated. According to Turkey, the E.U. and the United States, it is a terrorist organization, for many others, it is a liberation movement. There is no forensic evidence, just political ones. The HDP, besides representing a broad slice of the Kurdish community, is first of all a left-wing party voted by millions of Turks who are tired of the fascistic nationalism of the leaders. Demirtas has been calling for a cease-fire for months, after the resumption of dialogue between the government and PKK.
Yet he is accused of terrorism, together with the other nine HDP officials arrested yesterday, after a wave of arrests in Friday against the congressmen of the party. It happened in Adana, a city on the border with Syria. Special units of the Turkish police, even supported by helicopters, raided the homes of the nine congressmen and took them away. Berivan Atalas, member of the HDP’s Foreign Affairs Committee, tell us on the phone that the systematic repression will not end here: “Most likely, there will be other arrests against our congressmen, officials and supporters. It is a long-term repression carried out using physical detention.”