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Yet, last week, the Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty – HDP – pre­sent­ed its program…

By the way: if Kedis­tan refus­es to describe the HDP as being “pro-Kur­dish” it is because we find this appel­la­tion very sim­plis­tic, as it ignores the social, polit­i­cal, envi­ron­men­tal, fem­i­nist and minor­i­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tion aspect of this par­ty which , along with the recog­ni­tion of the Kurds, make it a unique and sin­gu­lar force. And this will nev­er be said often enough…. More­over, its demo­c­ra­t­ic pro­gram is addressed to all in Turkey and its mosa­ic of peo­ples. It is not for noth­ing that it is called “Peo­ples’ Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty” and not “Peo­ple’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party”!

Get­ting back to the news about the HDP, a par­ty that is more than “pro-Kur­dish”…

On the occa­sion of the pub­li­ca­tion of its road map, the HDP called pre­cise­ly on all the demo­c­ra­t­ic forces in the coun­try to unite in a com­mon front against the Erdoğan regime. This union of forces, sug­gest­ed by the HDP is not an elec­toral­ist, small-mind­ed polit­i­cal maneu­ver but rep­re­sents a real invi­ta­tion, pos­si­bly a last chance…

This appeal, no mat­ter how clear and nec­es­sary, is manip­u­lat­ed of course on the pro-regime media and social net­works. What is more, the TV sta­tions and writ­ten media con­trolled or threat­ened by the regime, offer no space for HDP elect­ed mem­bers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives to express them­selves. It is indeed appalling to see polit­i­cans of every stripe inter­pret­ing the posi­tions, actions and appeals by the HDP, in its total absence.

In light of this cen­sor­ship, Sela­hat­tin Demir­taş, the HDP’s ex-copres­i­dent, who is still impris­oned, insist­ed on clar­i­fy­ing the terms of this appeal, via his lawyers on his Twit­ter account.

The HDP has not made any secret alliances for local elec­tions, nei­ther with the CHP nor with the IYI Par­ti. It has sim­ply decid­ed, uni­lat­er­al­ly, to sup­port CHP can­di­dates in cer­tain large towns so that democ­ra­cy may progress. In all oth­er elec­toral regions, the HDP has entered the elec­toral con­test with its own can­di­dates. The HDP is not a part of a “Nation’s Alliance”.

The HDP’s appeal to a demo­c­ra­t­ic alliance is not an elec­toral com­plic­i­ty but a call to com­mon sense, in order to cre­ate a future guid­ed by demo­c­ra­t­ic principles.

The HDP exists in order to resolve all our prob­lems, includ­ing that of vio­lence, through polit­i­cal means using peace­ful meth­ods. It launch­es these appeals in order to resolve all the prob­lems, from the Kur­dish ques­tion to econ­o­my, from the absence of jus­tice to despair, includ­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion, through the use of com­mon sense.

The HDP draws its strength sole­ly from the peo­ple and it ren­ders accounts sole­ly to the peo­ple. For this rea­son, you can­not make the HDP retreat through attacks and oppres­sion. If instead of see­ing the HDP as “an ene­my” you attempt­ed a dia­logue, it would rep­re­sent sal­va­tion for all of Turkey.

And of course, as HDP, we must acknowl­edge our fail­ings, our mis­takes, with hon­esty and express clear­ly the objec­tives in the res­o­lu­tions we pro­pose to the peo­ple of Turkey.

On June 15 last, fol­low­ing this appeal, the HDP under­took a march called “Demo­c­ra­t­ic March against the Coup d’E­tat”. The march began with two pro­ces­sions, one from Edirne the town fur­thest in the north­west­ern end of Turkey and Hakkari locat­ed the fur­thest in the south-east. It will end on June 20 in the cap­i­tal, Ankara.


The march had bare­ly begun that it pro­voked the anger of the regime. At the first stop­ping place in Silivri, Istan­bul dis­trict, the marchers were greet­ed by police and tear gas. At least 11 peo­ple, either par­tic­i­pat­ing in the march or among the crowd assem­bled in sup­port, were arrest­ed and tak­en into custody.

Hence­forth, all demon­stra­tions are for­bid­den in some ten provinces on the march’s itin­er­ary. Yet, this peace­ful march is aimed at mak­ing the HDP’s voice heard since it is muz­zled by the media, and allow­ing it to reach the heart of the pop­u­la­tion, in order to weave links with orga­ni­za­tions, asso­ci­a­tions, local stakeholders…

Hav­ing its voice sup­pressed is not the only oppres­sion to which the HDP is sub­ject­ed. The regime is con­duct­ing a ver­i­ta­ble repres­sion against it, using all means avail­able, includ­ing igno­ble attacks and slan­der aimed at the HDP, its elect­ed mem­bers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives, or its sup­port­ers and sym­pa­thiz­ers, on social net­works, through thou­sands of accounts opened for this purpose…

Last June 12, Twit­ter shut down 7 340 accounts that served to ampli­fy sto­ries favor­able to the AKP and sup­port­ing Erdogan.

Must it be remind­ed yet again that dozens of deputies whose par­lia­men­tary immu­ni­ty was lift­ed in 2016 are lan­guish­ing in Turk­ish pris­ons? Is there need to remind yet again that, for months now, HDP co-may­ors, elect­ed with large majori­ties, have been removed from office and replaced by admin­is­tra­tors des­ig­nat­ed by the gov­ern­ment, thrown in prison, and all their pos­i­tive and pop­u­lar work thus wiped out? Must it be stat­ed again that, very recent­ly, on June 5, the par­lia­men­tary man­dates of HDP deputies Ley­la Güven and Musa Farisoğulları were revoked and that they were arrest­ed imme­di­ate­ly? Ley­la Güven was lib­er­at­ed 5 days lat­er, but Musa Farisoğulları is still behind bars, and the oppres­sions continue.

Must it be said again that this Par­ty rep­re­sents an elec­torate and has the sup­port of 6 mil­lion men and women, thus rep­re­sent­ing the third oppo­si­tion Par­ty? Act­ing as if the HDP did not exist is part of the meth­ods and poli­cies of the monis­tic, nega­tion­nis­tic and sick notion of Turci­ty and dis­plays its full array of neu­rot­ic nega­tions of all cul­ture, mater­nal lan­guage and peo­ple oth­er than the “Turk”, “so hap­py to be one”.

Turkey’s his­to­ry over­flows with dis­so­lu­tions and pro­hi­bi­tions of pro­gres­sive and left­ist par­ties. As Hasan Cemal wrote , chok­ing in anger in this recent colum:

Give no right to life to the oppo­si­tion.
Asphyx­i­ate all lib­er­ties even more.
Lit­er­al­ly cut off the voice and the breath of the Kurds.
Go on, what are you wait­ing for?
Shut down the HDP!”

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Naz Oke
REDACTION | Journaliste 
Chat de gout­tière sans fron­tières. Jour­nal­isme à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mar­mara. Archi­tec­ture à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mimar Sinan, Istanbul.