Protests outside the Turkish Consulate in Edinburgh as state arrests Kurdish MPs


UK Nato ally engaging in widespread crackdown of political opposition and civil society

AT LEAST 11 Kurdish MPs have been arrested in Turkey, prompting a solidarity demonstration today (4 November) at the Scottish Parliament.

Kurdish solidarity campaigners gathered outside the Turkish Consulate in Edinburgh this morning to express their anger at the shock move.

The arrests come as the latest part of a widespread crackdown of political dissent in Turkey since an attempted coup to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July. The MPs, including the leaders of the leftwing Kurdish party, were arrested on charges of alleged connection to “terrorist propaganda”.

“This is not helping the country but making it worse by creating a civil war like Syria.” Roza Salih

Roza Salih of the Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan (SSK), who helped to organise the snap demo told CommonSpace that the arrest of the Kurdish MPs represented Turkey’s turn away from democracy.

She said: “This is the final announcement that Turkey is an undemocratic country.

“The arrest of 11 MPs including co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ confirms that there is no freedom of speech and no respect for human rights. This is not helping the country but making it worse by creating a civil war like Syria.

Interview: Scottish trade unionists and activists return from Kurdish solidarity trip in Turkey

“The world needs to see what has become of Turkey and Erdogan’s political Islam.”

The election of 81 MPs for the HDP in 2015 presidential elections had marked a new political ascendancy for the Kurds, who are the oldest stateless minority in the Middle East and who have experienced long term oppression at the hands of the states which cover their population and home territory; Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The leftwing party is part of a wider insurrectionary mood in Kurdish areas, including in Rojava, the Kurdish area in Syria, which has taken the opportunity of the disintegration of the Syrian state to establish democratic rule and autonomy.

Turkey has been destabilised by the chaos in the region, with escalating bombings in its major cities and escalating tensions with bordering states including Syria and Iraq.

Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of suspected political dissidents of various tendencies in recent months.

The Kurdish community in Scotland has become increasingly active in recent years due to the escalating conflict in Kurdish areas.

Picture courtesy of Takver

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.