Der Spiegel reports: Selahattin Demirtas, 42, co-chairman of the HDP, is widely regarded as the winner of the election in early June. His charismatic demeanor was mainly due to the fact that his People’s Democratic Party (HDP) received 13 percent of the popular vote, becoming the first Kurdish party to win a mandate in Turkey’s parliament and deny the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) an absolute majority. For an interview, Demirtas received SPIEGEL in his parliamentary party’s new offices in Ankara. The room is large and bright and his desk is flanked by both the Turkish flag and that of his party.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Demirtas, your success two months ago gave hope to many people in- and outside of Turkey, who hailed it as a milestone for democracy. But today, the country threatens to return to civil war-like conditions. How could it come to this?
Demirtas: The AKP, the party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has brought about this situation deliberately. Until the elections in June, they had ruled Turkey unilaterally for more than a decade. But they weren’t able to block our ascent to power any longer, so they opted to foment chaos in the country instead. This is the only possible explanation for their war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
SPIEGEL: You go so far as to claim that the attack by the terrorist militia Islamic State in Suruc, in which 32 people were killed, was instigated by the government as a pretext for armed conflict. Do you have any proof?
Demirtas: If by that you mean documents that prove that the state was involved then, no, we don’t. But there are clear indications. Our research suggests that this attack by IS was made possible by the AKP government, which for years tolerated the extremists’ activities in Turkey. [Continue reading…]