Pro-minorities opposition in Turkey, HDP, says Afrin attack is for Erdogan re-election in 2019

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


The pro-minorities Left-wing alliance, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday condemned Turkey’s attacks on Afrin in northern Syria and suggested that Erdogan wants to re-elect himself for the upcoming 2019 elections by launching the so-called ‘Operation Olive Branch’ more than week ago which has cost the lives over 40 civilians.

“President [Reccep Tayip] ErdoÄŸan has launched his presidential election campaign by invading Afrin. Attacking the Kurds, he believes, would consolidate the support he has been receiving from his nationalist allies,” the party said.

“Simultaneously, he is using the climate of war to further the repression on the Kurdish and democratic opposition, who have already been under incessant attacks under emergency rule since July 2016,” the HDP said.

Earlier Turkish analyst Soner Cagaptay from the Washington Institute said the Turkish president is planning to use his operation to the local, parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for 2019 in Turkey.

“Erdogan’s path to slam dunk at the polls: Turkey’s Afrin operation, if it works out, could serve Erdogan the way Cyprus war served then PM Ecevit in the 1970’s, catapulting Erdogan to a clean sweep at the ballot box,” he said on Twitter.

Jawidan Hasan, representative of the local administrations in northern Syria, in the KRG, agreed. “He wants a victory for himself to collect more votes. To collect votes, he attacks us. We ask every one to stop this war,” he told The Region.

“While Erdogan says he doesn’t fights Kurds, he does. He is fighting against a new system [created in Northern Syria]. He knows in the future other nations inside Turkey will ask for a democratic system, similar to Rojava, were we give all religions and nations their right,” he added.

According to the HDP, “over 200 people have been taken into custody, mostly HDP executives and members, and many of them were jailed simply because they defended peace and criticized militarism,” the HDP said.

So far three journalists were arrested and 100 social media users were arrested, the OSCE said last Friday, for their social media posts on the Afrin attack.

“This invasion is spreading destruction of the war in Syria into Afrin, which has remained as a relatively safe area until recently. Despite severe Turkish-Syrian-jihadist blockade, Afrin has been a safe sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of Syrian IDPs from other war-torn parts of the country,” the HDP furthermore said.

“The Turkish army is carrying out this attack together with several jihadist groups, which is destroying peace and security in Afrin, giving a fresh breath to ISIS and similar organizations, and undermining the already fragile political process toward a settlement in Syria,” the HDP said.

According to the HDP the Turkish operation violates the international law and there has been no ‘has been no single attack from Afrin into Turkey’.

“We hereby call upon the international community to take a principled stance and not remain silent in the face of such an attack on the Kurds in Syria, who have sacrificed many lives in the fight against the ISIS,” the HDP concluded.

The HDP is one of the few opposition parties to openly criticize the Turkish so-called ‘Operation Olive Branch’ launched by the Turkish president Erdogan on 20 January. Even the opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) supports Turkey’s ongoing in Syria’s Afrin district, fearing it could lose votes to Erdogan