Peace was bombed in Turkey – eyewitness report from Ankara
by Arife Kose in Ankara – Sun 11 Oct 2015
Two bombs exploded at a peace demonstration in Turkey’s capital Ankara yesterday, Saturday.
The official number killed is currently 96. Over 150 people are injured, 28 in intensive care. But several sources say the numbers are much higher than this.
The bombs exploded at 10am, the start time of the march. Thousands of people were in front of the main train station, the starting point of the march, shouting peace slogans, dancing and singing.
The Confederation of Public Laborer’s Unions (KESK), Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions, Chamber of Turkish Engineer and Architect Union (TMMOB) and Turkish Medical Association (TTB) organised the demo.
Its aim was to make the Turkish government stop its war with Kurds. The Turkish government ended the peace process in July and since then hundreds of people have died.
It was a peaceful demonstration. We were not carrying guns or sticks, only our banners and peace flags.
Then came the explosions. First we did not realise that there were so many dead.
The police came to the explosion area even before the ambulances and doctors. This was what made people so angry. The police started to throw gas bombs at people trying to help others on the ground or carrying dead bodies in their cars to the hospitals.
We spent all day in the hospitals taking care of our friends. Thousands of people gathered in front of the hospitals chanting, “Killer Erdogan!”. In the evening we carried blankets and food to people waiting in front of the hospitals for news of relatives or friends.
The explosions happened where the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was gathering. HDP is a party consisting of the Kurdish freedom movement and some Turkish left.
In Turkey’s general election in June it passed the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament and now has 80 MPs. It’s the first time that any Kurdish party has passed the threshold.
Since then the government and fascists have regularly attacked the HDP, particularly its leader Selahattin Demirtas. Two weeks ago fascists attacked and burned the party buildings.
Yesterday’s explosions took place the day before the PKK announced a ceasefire. This aimed to provide safe conditions for a general election on 1 November.
I think there are two reasons for the explosions. First, the Turkish government wants to prevent peace with Kurds and to push the HDP under the threshold in the coming election.
After every incident like this the government accuses Kurdish people and the HDP of being responsible. It wants to cut the unity between Kurdish and Turkish people who want peace.
The second reason is the situation in the Middle East, particularly Syria. The Turkish government has been very unhappy about the fact that Kurds are making gains in the Middle East. But the foreign policy of the Turkish government and its Western allies is bankrupt. So it punishes Kurds in Turkey.
Many people blame the government directly for this latest attack. Even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the explosions, it is impossible for it not to know anything about them.
This is not the first time such events have happened in Turkey. The government has been trying such dirty methods for more than 30 years. But they did not win and they will not win this time. More people want peace in Turkey than want war with Kurdish people.
The two trade unions that helped organise the peace demonstration have called two days of strikes on Monday and Tuesday of next week in protest. We’ll do our best to make the strikes successful and big.
We demand the interior minister, prime minister and all the officials who were unable to provide the security of the demonstration must resign.
We invite everyone who wants peace and democracy to vote for HDP in the coming election.
And we say that PEACE WILL WIN!