Istanbuls real Kurds vote BDP

ISTANBUL – Metin (47) votes for Abdullah Öcalan. That the leader of the Kurdish seperatist movement PKK is in jail, is not relevant. Hij points at the posters of the candidate for pro-Kurdish party BDP. ‘I vote for Öcalan via him.’

The neighborhood Tarlabasi, a few minutes walk from Istanbuls central Taksim Square, is old, dilapidated and poor, and mainly inhabited by Kurds. Here only the pro-Kurdish BDP, Party for Peace and Democracy, campaigns here, even governing party AKP is invisible. The posters of the BDP candidate are everywhere, in Turkish and Kurdish. Everybody points at them if you ask who they vote for. But some don’t understand the question. ‘We are Kurds!’, three women say. But there are also Kurds who vote for AKP, isn’t it? Together: ‘But we are real Kurds!’

The Kurds started settling in Tarlabasi in the eighties, when in the South-East the war between the PKK and the Turkish army broke loose. And still new migrants come, now mainly attracted by the economy. At the previous elections many Kurds voted AKP because the party promised to solve the Kurdish issue by democratic means, but many voters are now deeply disappointed. ‘There is still no education in our mother tongue’, says Sevim, a 23 year old student. Öcalan-voter Metin: ‘The oppression and torture must come to an end.’ He shows his identity card: ‘Look, it has a Turkish flag on it. I want one with the Kurdish flag.’


In Tarlabasi the atmosphere is good, at the polling station the police chat with voters. But from the South-East reports are coming in about intimidation by the police: identity checks at the entrance of polling stations, armed police inside in stead of outside, votes being bought. Those reports are hard to check from Istanbul, but at the same time not hard to believe. The Kurdish question remains unresolved, Kurdish politicians were earlier blocked from participating in the elections and many Kurdish politicians and mayors are in jail.

Who searches, will find non BDP voters in Tarlabasi too. Market vendor Hüseyin (58) votes AKP: ‘The party brought many good things to Turkey.’ Sakine (55) chose the biggest opposition party, CHP. ‘Because of Ecevit’, she says. He lead the CHP in the sixties and passed away in 2006. Sakine: ‘The new CHP leader is also good.’

7 replies
  1. Hevallo Azad
    Hevallo Azad says:

    Thank you! The Kurdish reality! A reality that tonight we are faced with again as reports from Diybarbakir, Siirt, Urfa and Van come of Turkish police attacks on Kurds celebrating a historic election gain for Kurds and the election to the Turkish parliament of Kurdish political prisoners of KCK.

    A grenade was thrown at a celebrating crowd in Sirnak and gas bombs were fired at celebrating Kurds in an obviously planned and coordinated, ‘punishment’ to the Kurds by the racist Turkish state.

    It is a shame that should shame every Turk and Kurd who voted for AKP! Is this was you voted for?

    The ‘real Kurds’ want peace but AKP and the Turkish State are still in their racist mentality!

    Not a good sign of the days to come!

  2. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    You are totally wrong. The protesters throw away Molotov cocktails to the shops and the police officers. I would like to see once a protest by Kurds without a violence. Then I will believe they want a peace!!!

  3. Ella
    Ella says:

    Thank you for writing about the biggest nation in the world with their land being occupied by Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. This is a step towards autonomy, and then independence. The Kurdistan issue is the biggest to solve for a peaceful Middle East. According to Amnesty several thousand Kurdish children under the age of 18 are in jail in Turkey (albeit in the Kurdistan areas). More than 100 politicians, journalists and activists are under masstrial -how can you be democratic when you are under violence everyday? This is why we want the Turkish military out of Kurdistan now, we want peace and freedom for our people.

  4. sezer
    sezer says:

    u have no idea about turkey s reality frederike u think pkk or bdp is freedom fighter but they r just terrorists or supporting terrorist that s the real they killed thousands baby or soldiers(one of them is my cousin) i think u are confused try to learn somethin about facts

  5. Ali
    Ali says:

    Hi Frederike. Lets Say Kurdistan(!), Lets think about their capital(!)… Diyarbakir isn’t it? 33% AKP… This is what real Kurds voted.

    There is a reality all over the world which is that, the ones believe whatever they wish. Means, we know what you trying to do;)

    @sezer, They know things well bro, That’s why they support the LOSERs.

  6. Zarok
    Zarok says:

    Ali, Sezer, et. al. so 33% for AKP in Kurdistan. With support of almost whole world, all the drug money, this is all you could have bought? Let’s also mention that in Kurdistan one out of 5 people is some sort of security officer which always vote for the status quo (before AKP it was DYP). Soldiers, korucu and others constantly went and told people whom to vote for. So, Ali, let’s think Mersin, what was the percentage of Kurds voting for the blok? Let’s think Istanbul. This is without having a Kurdish state security apparatus. 😉

    Now about peaceful protests. Kurds try peaceful protests and at which point they get gassed or the state throws a grenade into the crowd. This didn’t happen once.


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  1. […] went to the Istanbul neighbourhood of Tarlabaşı, to taste the atmosphere and interview voters for a story for news agency ANP. Tarlabaşı is mainly inhabited by Kurds and they all supported independent candidate Sirri […]

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