Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan said on Tuesday the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been trying to use Qandil and Manbij, places under the control of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, as leverage to win the elections on June 24.
“The AKP has seen that they are losing, and now they want to move the elections to Manbij and Qandil. They want to campaign through these cities,” Buldan said at a rally in Diyarbakır on Tuesday.
The Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq, which host the headquarters of the PKK, have been a symbol since 2003 of counterterrorism measures taken by Turkey, while the Syrian city of Manbij has recently been occupied by YPG militants with the backing of the US.
HDP deputies consider the AKP’s rhetoric concerning the destruction of the camp at Qandil and the removal of the YPG from Manbij as a threat to Kurdish people’s rights.
“We are calling on [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan: Keep your hands off the Kurdish people,” Buldan said.
“This country doesn’t want their children killed anymore. The people gathered here don’t want their brothers killed,” she added.
Yesterday the US and Turkey endorsed a roadmap regarding the security of Manbij after meetings in Washington.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said according to the roadmap the YPG would leave Manbij and be disarmed. YPG officials said they would withdraw their military advisors in the city, Reuters reported.