The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has called on Turkey’s government to immediately cease the current military offensive in Syria, Turkish media outlets reported on Thursday.
Sezai Temelli, HDP’s co-chair, also condemned the country’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for its “yes” vote, which authorized the Turkish military’s a cross-border operation into Syria’s Kurdish-led region.
“Turkey must immediately end the war and withdraw from the soil of Syria. The primary aim of this offensive, unlike what the government claims, is not a political entity but to destroy the egalitarian, libertarian and democratic way of life that the Kurds try to establish with the other peoples of the region,” Temelli told reporters at HDP headquarters in the capital Ankara.
Turkey on Wednesday launched the long-promised military operation, called “Operation Peace Spring”, against Kurdish positions in northeast Syria, east of the Euphrates River.
On Tuesday, the Turkish parliament approved a motion to renew authorization for Turkish troops to enter northern Iraq and Syria, extending the state’s authority to launch cross-border military operations for another year.
Besides, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), two opposition parties, the main opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good Party (IYI), also backed the motion. Only the HDP voted against it.
The HDP chair called the offensive “a unilateral attempt for invasion by the AKP-MHP government.”
Temelli also criticized the CHP over its support for the operation.
“We call on the CHP administration which voted “yes” for the motion to get rid of its chronic contradictions that harm itself [at the end],” said Temelli.
He said” this war” was not a war of Turkey’s people but that it would serve the AKP “to make problems in the country, such as human rights violations, hunger, poverty, violence against women and environment, invisible”.
“We call on everybody to act against the war and form a democratic front against the war,” the HDP leader added.
The Co-chair also called on international world to take steps to stop the operation.
At the end of his statement, Temelli called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP government to immediately end the military operation and pursue a peaceful foreign policy, to remove its all assets, including the military ones, from the neigboring country, to respect the Syrian people in deciding for the future of their country, to give support to Syria’s reconstruction and to offer humanitarian aid there.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government aims to form a “safe zone” by clearing the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia forces as well as the Islamic State (ISIS) that hold territory in the border area and resettle some three million Syrian refugees living currently in the country.
The YPG, a US ally in the war against the ISIS, is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, due to their ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants waging an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.
Ankara also accuses the HDP of having links to the PKK.
On Thursday, Turkish prosecutors launched an investigation into the HDP lawmakers, including the co-chairs Temelli and Pervin Buldan, and detained 21 people for criticizing the military offensive.
The HDP members are accused of “carrying out propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “openly insulting Turkey’s government”.
Following the launch of the operation on Wednesday, the Turkish authorities launched investigations against 78 individuals who criticized the offensive on social media, according to state-run news agency Anadolu (AA).
Similarly, 300 people had been detained for social media posts criticizing Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria in January 2018.