Sacked Turkish police officer writes letter to Kurdish opposition leader

Journalist Fehim Işık published a letter written by a police officer to the imprisoned co-chair of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas on the web site Artı Gerçek.

According to Işık, the unnamed police officer comes from a conservative-nationalist background but said his worldview started to change during his college years and was reversed entirely when he was serving in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast at the time of the 2014 Islamic State siege of Kobani in northern Syria.

At the time, Turkey had blocked access to the Kurdish border town of Kobani resulting in large protests before eventually allowing Iraqi Kurdish forces across the frontier to help lift the siege.

The officer, Işık said, lost his job as a result of a government decree and is now wanted for arrest.

Thousands of Turkish police officers have lost their jobs or have been jailed in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup last year for links to the U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen. Followers of Gülen are said to have infiltrated the police, military, civil service and judiciary in the years running up to the coup.

Demirtaş has been in prison for more than a year awaiting trial on charges of “spreading terrorist propaganda”.

Addressing Selahattin Demirtaş as 'Selo', a causal way to shorten names in the Southeast Turkey, the officer wrote:

Dear Selo,

Those who want more violence have made your life so hard for you. That's why I am writing to you.

Things are so complicated right now that we have only one remedy. Only civilian initiatives will carry us to freedom. I know that you too want this. I read your books, your letters... I want you to know that as a Turk, as an ex-police officer, I stand with you. I do not want anyone to focus on the 'Turk' detail. I am only writing as a human being who hopes for peace...

The only thing I care about is to be able to find a compromise for a humane solution around universal values. Being able to have a cup of tea in my police uniform in Munzur (in eastern Turkey) as comfortably as if I were in Ankara. Just to be able to take a stroll on the banks of the Tigris.

I understood what this dirty war is through your words on TV years ago. These dirty battles never end because of the dishonesty of those who use the public power.