ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - By refusing to honor Kurdish demands for equal right, Turkey's leaders were insulting the Kurds, said the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Altan Tan on Wednesday.
"What the Kurds want is a democratic republic in Turkey that enshrines education in mother tongue for all people, recognizes Kurdish as an official language and devolves power to local administrations," said MP Tan in a speech to a parliamentary session.
Founded as an ethnocentric unitary state on the ashes of the Ottoman Empire a century ago, Turkey clings on to its highly centralized system of governance.
"Nobody is in favor of separation or division. But no one is also content with living in the current state of affairs," Tan told fellow lawmakers, ruling out a Kurdish independence from Turkey while calling for regional self-rule.
Tan, a representative for the Diyarbakir province, lambasted wide-spread theories in Turkey that foreign powers such as the US, UK, Germany or Israel were manipulating the Kurds in their quest for rights.
"Are the Kurds that foolish? You are insulting, and you are not even aware. You do not trust the people," he said.
"Then how can the Kurds you distrust trust you, how," he asked in his address published by his party.
HDP lawmakers on Monday boycotted the opening ceremony for the new legislative term because of authorities' continued imprisonment of their co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and nine other MPs.
On Kurdistan Region's last week referendum on independence from Iraq, Tan criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan government's staunch opposition.
"Is there such a thing as Iraqi unity? The Shia Arab in Baghdad cannot go along with the Sunni Arab, the Sunni Turkmen in Tel Afar sides with Daesh [Islamic State] against the Shia Turkmen," Tan said.
He further challenged the Turkish government for its recent alignment with the Shia-dominated capitals of Iraq, Iran and "even the regime of Bashar al-Assad" in Syria against Kurdish aspirations.
"The foundation of a Kurdistan won't be the end of the world," Tan said, calling for respect for the will of the region's people who voted yes with a 92.7 percent.
Editing by Ava Homa