Ankara – Ahmet Turk, the former mayor of Mardin and a respected peacemaker, was arrested by Turkish police on Thursday and transferred to Silivri Prison. Analysts and politicians told ARA News that his arrest signals the end of the Kurdish-Turkish peace process.
“What difference does it make, if I am in prison or not? But how will this bloodshed end? How will this issue reach a resolution? These are the questions,” Ahmet Turk said before his arrest.
Ahmet Turk was previously arrested in the wake of the coup in 1980. “For peace, we have shouldered responsibility with our body and our soul. We faced unimaginable tortures in Diyarbakır Prison but we did not meet anyone with hatred,” he said.
Hisyar Ozsoy, a Deputy co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), condemned Turk’s arrest, highlighting his past service as a peacemaker. “Ahmet Turk is the last peace ambassador of his generation. He has been struggling to end the ongoing war for more than 30 years,” he said.
“The attack on [74-year-old] Mr Turk, in spite of his elder age and his cardiac pacemaker, is a major blow to our hopes for peace,” Ozsoy added.
Speaking for the HDP, Ozsoy condemned “the politics of intimidation and oppression towards Mr Turk and all other HDP and DBP politicians, held as hostages in Turkish prisons.”
Cengiz Candar, a veteran Turkish journalist and columnist for Al-Monitor, suggested that Turk’s arrest was the final nail in the coffin of the Kurdish-Turkish peace process. “Especially now, following the detention of Turk, reviving the peace process with the Kurds in Turkey is no more than a pipe dream,” he wrote.
“Turk’s detention perhaps even means that Turkey’s Kurdish question has entered into the gravest episode in its long history,” Candar argued.
The crackdown on the HDP is connected to the conflict in Syria, where the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are clashing with Turkish-backed rebels. While the SDF seeks Kurdish contiguity, the rebels want to prevent Syrian Kurds from uniting the three cantons administrations in northern Syria.
Speaking calmly about his own arrest, Ahmet Turk said that his cause would one day be vindicated: “We walk for the freedom of all peoples. But no people can be free when the Kurds are not.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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