Q&A with Eyyup Doru
Eyyup Doru speaks hypercritically of Ankara and the whole Turkish political system. The reason behind his reaction is the way the Turkish government interacts with the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the only Kurdish party that could have sent their representatives to the parliament for the first time.
However, this political renewal didn’t last long, and many members of his party were arrested after Turkey’s failed coup.
Eyyup Doru describes himself as the advocate of self-determination for the Kurds.
He supports the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum, and believes that Iran and Turkey must change their strategy. He also believes that Ankara’s economic interests in Iraqi Kurdistan shouldn’t come into practice.
How do you evaluate the effect of the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on the future of the Middle East? Can Iraqi Kurdistan be a model for other parts of the Middle East? Are we going to witness greater wars?
First of all, the Kurdish people, like other people in the world, have the right to self-determination. Kurds and Kurdistan have existed for thousands of years. No Kurdish political party has the ambition to wage a war against their neighbours. Therefore I think that a Democratic Kurdistan will only contribute to the stability of the region.
Some people believe that Iraqi Kurdistan might go down the path of consolidating Barzani’s power and his dictatorship, and this might result in a non-democratic Kurdistan. What do you think?
Conflicts between political parties exist in all states of the world as in Kurdistan. But when it concerns the elementary rights of the Kurdish people, Kurdish political parties have at minimum a consensus on the principle of democracy.
Turkey and Iran believe that holding a referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Iraqi government. Don’t you think that they are right in legal terms?
I think that Iran and Turkey don’t act in a logical way, they must abandon the colonialist mentality and must respect the choices of the Kurdish people to be able to live in peace with them.
What do you think about the effect of the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan on the Kurdish situation, especially your party, within Turkey? Will the situation become more difficult for them and for HDP?
The regime of Turkey is a dictatorial one, it doesn’t respect any criteria of democracy, so we can’t speak about a state of law. The simple example of arresting all the mayors in Kurdish cities, and even the arrest of many deputies and of 9,000 members of our party is enough to show that this is a reactionary and anti-democratic regime.
The last referendum has been won thanks to electoral frauds. International delegations such as the Council of Europe and OCDE have confirmed this fact.
Turkey and Iran are worried about insurgency in their own Kurdish regions and a re-occurrence of the Iraq scenario in their own country. Do you think their concern is reasonable?
The political situation of the Kurdish people partitioned between the 4 states is not at the same level.
In Kurdistan of Iraq and Syria they have a quasi- federal status but in Iran and Turkey they have no rights. So the consequences will be different according the political situation.
No country in the region has supported the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum, except Israel. The referendum critics argue that Israel’s support for the referendum and the old Barzani relationship with Israel implies clandestine planning and Israel’s conspiracy for the whole region, aiming to dissociate the countries. In your opinion, what is the reason of Israel for supporting the referendum?
I am not a spokesperson of the Israeli state so you should ask Israel if they supported the referendum or not. As far as I know, they declared that they did not want to intervene, and even it were the case, it should be first the states of the region that should find a peaceful solution to this issue.
Your party is one of the supporters of the Palestinian people. Don’t you think Israel’s support for the referendum is detrimental to the image of the Iraqi Kurdistan government?
The HDP, because of its backing of the right to self- determination of the Palestinian people, supports the same rights for the Kurds and Catalans. This right is internationally recognized by the UN.
Is HDP also wishing to hold a referendum similar to Iraqi Kurdistan in Turkey?
Currently it is not the case but why not.
Are you for joining the Turkish Kurds to Kurdistan country under the Barzani government?
We, Kurds of north Kurdistan (Turkey) live on our own territories. We have been resisting for thousands of years against foreign occupations. Today our people lead a resistance against the Turkish army.
We are not willing to leave our territory because we are not outsiders but part of it. We are native people with a history of more than 7 thousand years.
What does HDP in Turkey want for the Kurds? Do you want autonomy, independency, or do you propose another option?
We ask for decentralization and ask to live in a real democratic state, not only for us but for all the people of Turkey.
Do you think the alignment of Syrian Kurds and Iraq Kurds, and formation of a confederation would be possible? Is it possible that they will not compete with each other?
Indeed, the majority of Kurdish political parties try to create a national congress to get a common strategy for all the Kurdish region, so far the only party that declines to take part is the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK). A confederation between Iraqi and Rojava is theoretically conceivable.
Which do you think is more effective: the Iraqi Kurdistan model or the Rojava model in Syria? Why?
We think that the most effective model is the one of Rojava, because it is based on a model of participatory democracy with an active role for women and the existing government includes all the ethnicities living in the region in the name of a co-federal system that doesn’t recognize the nation state model.
Do you think we should expect a long term war and numerous military attacks between Iraqi Kurdistan, and Iran and Turkey?
I don’t think so. Turkey has too many economic interests in the region and for Turkey, the principal enemy is the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has a military base along the borders. Turkey has bombed this region for years and has officially 12 military bases in the Barzani region, so Turkey threatens but will not put into practice all its threats.
In the end, what do you think about the situation of Mr. Demirtas and Ms. Yuksekdag? Do you think their release from detention will happen soon?
HDP leads a political struggle despite all these ferocious attacks by the state. While we have currently 10 deputies in Turkish jails and the government has illegally striped the immunity of 5 of our deputies, our democratic struggle will never fade away.