Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine was on the agenda of deputies who took to the floor in a session held in the Turkish parliament on Thursday. All the deputies without exception stated that they were against the invasion and condemned Russia.
However, unlike others, deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) stated that they see the current situation as a war of imperialist interests, adding that the people living in the disputed regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have a right to self-determination and independence.
Among the deputies who held Russia and NATO equally responsible for the war were also those who described NATO as a terrorist organization.
The HDP deputies’ support of self-determination for Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions is not inconsistent, considering that the party officially advocates autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeastern and eastern regions — what many in Turkey see as a pre-independence stage — and defends the independence of Iraqi and Syrian Kurds.
Defining developments in Ukraine as a reflection of the war for hegemony between NATO and Russia, the HDP’s Hüseyin Kaçmaz called on the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to step in in Donetsk and Luhansk and determine the will of the people living there, adding that right to self-determination should be left to the people.
“The Ukraine war is a war for sharing the spoils of the occupying imperialists. The US, NATO and Russia are on the stage in all their hypocrisy. They are out of step when it comes to the Kurds in Turkey, the Kurds in Syria and Ukraine,” Murat Çepni, representing İzmir in parliament, told his colleagues. Çepni called on NATO to abandon the US export of war to the world while condemning Russia’s policy of occupation and expansion and Turkey’s policy of turning tensions into opportunities.
“The right of nations to self-determination is as valid today as it was yesterday. The demands of the people of Donetsk and Luhansk are extremely legitimate,” Çepni added.
Saying that “the peoples of Ukraine should determine their own future,” İzmir deputy Ali Kenanoğlu also stated: “We say no to imperialist aggression, NATO’s expansionist policies and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which is ruled by a one-man regime. This war is a war of sovereignty between Russia and NATO.”
Meral Danış Beştaş, an important figure in the HDP, said she saw the war as battle for hegemony between Russia and NATO, like the other HDP deputies, and added that innocent people would pay the price of the war, as in Libya and Afghanistan. Inviting the UN and international organizations to step in, Beştaş suggested a peaceful solution in line with the will of the people of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Stating that it was not a surprise that the war would break out after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 21 that Russia recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, Tülay Hatimoğulları said the HDP had previously advocated taking the demands of the peoples living in the Donbas region seriously. According to Hatimoğulları, no country has the right to interfere with the territorial integrity of another country, but people who are pro-independence or who have raised their own cultural demands should also be listened to as a requirement of democracy.
Mersin MP Rıdvan Turan, who started his speech by saying that after the death of Lenin in 1924, the Soviets rapidly moved away from the values of socialism and became a capitalist state in order to compete with capitalism and likened Putin to Peter the Great, tzar of the expansionist Russian Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries.
While demanding that Russia take a step back from its mistakes, Turan said the expansionist policy of NATO, which he described as a terrorist organization, should not be ignored.
Meanwhile, the HDP administration expressed similar views in a statement released on Thursday.
“What happened in Ukraine is not only tension between two neighboring countries but also the last link of the struggle for dominance between NATO and Russia,” the statement reads, adding that “we firmly reject the military intervention initiated by Russia in violation of international law.”
The HDP called for the Russian government to abide by the Minsk agreements, cease military operations and reopen the channels of negotiation.
Accusing the Ukrainian government of escalating tensions between NATO and Russia, the HDP also urged Ukraine to attempt dialogue with Russia.
Contrary to the speeches of the deputies in parliament, the declaration did not mention the independence of the disputed regions or the right to self-determination.
The HDP group in parliament is mostly made up of deputies from the Kurdish political movement, which is allegedly close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and there are also representatives from socialist parties and groups with which HDP had an electoral alliance.
Pro-Kurdish HDP’s statement titled “What happened in Ukraine is the final link of the struggle for dominance between NATO and Russia”HDP
Erkan Baş, chairman of the Workers Party of Turkey, which is represented in parliament by three deputies who resigned from the HDP and one who resigned from the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP), also characterized NATO as a terrorist organization and stated that the existence of NATO is a danger to world peace and the peoples of the world.
According to Baş, NATO, which declared that it was founded to combat the so-called Soviet threat and socialism, has continued to expand for years, despite the disappearance of those threats.