Sri Lanka

It is 2011. In front of the courthouse of Diyarbakır during one of the many “maxi trials” against Kurdish militants an international activist approaches the garrison and asks me to translate her rage: “Why are you preventing them from defending themselves in their own language?”. The policeman smiles and calmly answers: “we will act as in Sri Lanka, we will exterminate them all”.

To annihilate and crush the enemy to the point of deleting him/her from the map is one of the possible strategies to adopt. This is what the Turkish government has been trying to do since one year, since the collapse of the peace process, secretly inaugurated in September 2011, precisely while the policeman was talking to me about Sri Lanka.

It is a political genocide that does not even spare representatives elected by the Kurds such as Gültan Kışanak, the combative mayor of Diyarbakır, the main Kurdish city in Turkey, arrested on the 25th of October, together with co-mayor Fırat Anlı. The Hdp, a Turkish and pro-Kurdish radical left coalition, is the bête noire of Erdoğan, who wants to wipe it out from parliament in all possible ways.

To end up in prison first were the Turkish intellectuals close to the Kurdish movement, then the journalists and eventually, one after the other, the Kurdish activists and leaders. The project is clear: to silence the Turks who are in favor of the negotiation in order to isolate the Kurds and destroy them first politically and then militarily.

In Sri Lanka, in the war against the Tamil Tigers, 40 thousand people died in a single year, 1000 a day during the last weeks of conflict. Such was the price for the failure of the negotiation. While waiting to understand if the same thing will happen in Turkey, where the Kurds are more than 15 millions, the space of political practicability for those who propose negotiating solutions to the military conflict is almost non existent. But the leader of the Hdp Selahattin Demirtaş announces a battle to come: “We will not lower our heads in front of fascism, we will go from house to house as in the '90s, this is something they cannot stop”.

(The cover drawing is by Gianluca Costantini, English translation Giustina Selvelli)

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