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Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is a libertarian, participatory, pluralist party, whose major axis is Kurdish movement and reason for being is democracy and equal rights citizenship. It embraces rule of law and aims for radical democracy. It is against government with its libertarian and peaceful domestic and foreign policies, and against order with its interregional balance economic development program. HDP is the only alternative to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which drives Turkey to economic destruction and chaos.
It was the HDP which caused the AKP to lost its majority in the parliament in June 2015 parliamentary elections. Mr. Erdoğan is aware that as long as HDP maintains its existence as an effective political party, AKP won’t come to power alone. Furthermore, Mr. [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan knows that AKP’s pillage economy and aggressive foreign policy won’t be able to keep its existence before HDP’s libertarian, peaceful, fair and balanced economic development program.
For this reason, it decided to eliminate and extirpate HDP from political life entirely by coming to terms with its foe MHP after 2015 parliamentary elections. In line with that, its November 1 election campaign was based on excluding the HDP.
Main theme of Mr. Erdoğan’s speeches he delivered at monthly meetings with village chiefs and election campaigns was hostility against the HDP. He continued the accusations for months that HDP was terrorist organization, its members are terrorists, and in terms of belief they are followers of Zarathustra religion.
During the campaign, 125 physical assaults were launched on HDP’s provincial and district building. The law enforcers remained unresponsive to these incident. Despite the anti-HDP campaign run by making use of state’s all means, HDP overcame 10-percent electoral threshold in November 1 elections and kept its status being the third biggest group in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM). Mr. Erdoğan wasn’t pleased with the result. He managed to form the government alone but he wasn’t happy with these challenges because HDP didn’t stay behind the threshold.
He was determined in sustaining his anti-HDP campaign after the elections as well. Anti-HDP campaign continued and is still continuing without interruption and.
Mr. Erdoğan started the hostility against HDP by abandoning “peace talks” in 2015, which he himself managed, and returning to policy of security. The joint peace declaration prepared by peace committees’ reports, HDP and AKP officials, government and state authorities, was disregarded but hope and demand for peace climbed to 80s in public. With the anti-HDP campaign, this rate became reversed. Now demand for peace is seen equal with terrorism and is considered a crime.
o When the peace talks ended, the government has taken up to isolate HDP from political and social fields. Now HDP wouldn’t be mentioned in neither printed nor visual media. Even mentioning the party’s name was banned on TV channels, which were running after HDP spokespeople. HDP suddenly vaporized. Tens of printed media outlets published by HDP members or people affiliated with the HDP, TV channels and news agencies were shut down. Kurdish theater plays were banned.
o The most significant anti-HDP attack was that 81 elected mayors, assembly members and Provincial General Assembly members have been dismissed or arrested by statutory decrees and replaced with pro-government trustees.
o All prosecutors in the country were assigned with taking the spokespersons of the HDP under scrutiny and preparing summaries of proceedings about them. In a short span of time, there piled up hundreds of files for each HDP MP at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. A retroactive constitutional amendment was made by disregarding the Articles no. 83/2 and 15/2 of the Constitution so that the related files of the HDP MPs could be referred to the Prosecutor’s Offices and the defendant MPs could be arrested as soon as possible. The immunities were lifted in relation with the charges filed before the law in question came into force. Shortly afterwards, 15 MPs of the HDP, including the co-chairs of the party, were arrested. The party was paralyzed, it was rendered inoperative. While some of the arrested were released during the judicial process, other MPs were arrested in the meanwhile. Nine HDP MPs, including the former co-chairs of the party, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ are under arrest.
o Some of the arrested and unarrested MPs of the party were relieved of their MP duties by being given minor sentences, which could also be deferred. Some of the HDP MP were relieved of their MP duties on the ground of absence, violating the common practices at the parliament. In this way, 11 MPs of the HDP were relieved of their MP duties. Around 15 thousand active members of the party, including its provincial and district co-chairs, were arrested on allegation that they have ties with terrorism. The party was paralyzed. There was almost no one who could work for the constitutional change referendum on April 16, 2017 and the presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, 2018. Indeed, both campaigns were not really vivid for the party.
o After the imprisoned presidential candidate of the HDP Selahattin Demirtaş’s request for release was rejected, he was forced to run his election campaign on social media via his attorneys. Something like that happened for the first time in world history. On the one side, there were the other political parties that made their election campaigns by addressing the public directly at grand square meetings. On the other side, there were the MP candidates of the HDP, who were forced to work in silence and under threat.
o Dear Erdoğan made amendments to the electoral law, thereby forming the Public Alliance with its supporter parties, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Great Unity Party (BBP), and solving the problem of electoral threshold confronting them. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) pursued a similar path and formed the Nation Alliance with the İYİ Party, the Felicity Party (SP) and Democratic Party (DP). While it saved its allies, which could take only 2-3 percent of the votes, from the threat of electoral threshold, it preferred excluding the HDP due to the accusations of Erdoğan. It was an ample opportunity to leave the HDP under the electoral threshold. Indeed, Erdoğan made a move without a moment’s delay. At the meeting of AKP provincial chairs, Erdoğan gave the following instruction to them “on the condition of keeping it among themselves”: “I want you to definitely keep the HDP under the electoral threshold by using your all possible means.” It would not only beat the HDP, but it would also bring 60-70 undeserved MPs to the AKP. Shortly afterwards, the provocations began. At first, at an armed attack in Suruç in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa, four people died and tens of others were wounded. Provocations sporadically continued until the elections on June 24.
It was exactly under the pressure of such serious threats of every stripe that the HDP could partake in the elections on June 24. It was highly likely that it could not overcome the electoral threshold. The enemies of the HDP, especially the President Erdoğan, were waiting for that moment. They were openly expressing those wishes at TV programs and going so far as to demand that the party be closed after the elections. The HDP’s problem of overcoming the threshold and entering the parliament was now a matter of winning or losing the democracy struggle of Turkey. At last, the elections came to an end and the HDP has entered the parliament by overcoming the electoral threshold and becoming the third biggest political party of the parliament with its 67 MPs.
We owe this happy end, which is a significant gain for the democratic future of Turkey, to the democratic resistance displayed by the Kurdish people by looking after their votes and to the socialist and liberal democrats citizens, who are the enlightened face of the country. I cordially congratulate our all citizens, Kurdish and Turkish, who have kept the people’s hope for democracy alive by contributing to the the HDP to overcome the electoral threshold.
No one should be deceived by superficial gains. The big election victories that are conjecturally won are not a gain in terms of the history of democracy. The real victory is the small, modest victory which keeps alive the people’s hope for peace, freedom, democracy and a happy future. This important victory, which has manifested itself in the HDP, shall be a gift to the Turkish and Kurdish people. (TZE/EKN/TK/SD)
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