Baydemir accuses Turkey's Erdogan of hypocrisy over Palestine and Kurdistan

"You keep saying that Palestine is under occupation, that [Palestinians] are oppressed. Okay then, how about Kurdistan and the Kurdish People?"
author_image Ari Khalidi

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish lawmaker Osman Baydemir, who this week was punished over uttering the word “Kurdistan” at the Turkish Parliament, called out the Ankara government’s double standards pertaining to Palestine and Kurdistan.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Baydemir was addressing a Saturday meeting in the Kurdish city of Bitlis whose elected Co-mayors the Interior Ministry deposed of last year in a continued sweeping crackdown.

Baydemir criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s daily championship of the Palestinian cause since the beginning of this month when the US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, branding the Turkish stance as merely “theatrics.”

“You keep saying that Palestine is under occupation, that [Palestinians] are oppressed. Okay then, how about Kurdistan and the Kurdish People,” Baydemir asked, according to Kurdistan 24’s Turkish language service.

“When it comes to the Kurds, you put 96 elected mayors in prison. Here, the very law of occupation, that of colonialism is at work,” he added, giving the number of elected heads of Kurdish municipalities jailed, among them those of Bitlis and its districts, by the strictly central Turkish state.

In his numerous speeches around the country for the last two weeks, Erdogan has labeled Israel as a “child-killer state of terror and occupation,” stoking nationalistic and religious sentiments against the US and the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was not to be lectured by Erdogan who was “bombing Kurdish villages and jailing journalists.”

A human rights lawyer by profession, and former mayor of the major Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, Baydemir sparked a wave of patriotic enthusiasm among Kurds when he pounded on his chest, saying “Kurdistan is here,” in response to the questioning of the existence of his homeland at the Turkish Parliament.

Uttering the “K-word” during a Wednesday meeting of Parliament led to a banishment for two legislative sessions, a fine of 12,000 Liras (approx. 3,100 USD), and a cut of two-thirds of his travel allowances.

On Sunday, once again speaking about Jerusalem, Erdogan continued by promising that his army was going to clear the Syrian Kurdish cities of Afrin, Manbij, Tel Abyad, Serekaniye, and Qamishlo that stretch along his country’s 900-kilometers-long (560-mile) southern border “from terrorists.”

The places he addressed were where US-backed Kurds battling the Islamic State (IS) in Syria have set up a self-declared autonomous region, known as Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan.

“All colonialists are monsters with one tooth left. This government is doing nothing but histrionics over Palestine,” Baydemir said.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany