Former HDP co-chair Demirtaş: Historical breaking point in Turkey to be on the side of the oppressed

Former Peoples’ Democratc Party (HDP) co-chair Selahatn Demirtaş has penned a leter for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet regarding the upcoming parliamentary and presidental electons in Turkey.

02 Mayıs 2018 Çarşamba, 16:45
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(Photo: Kurtuluş Arı)

Former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has penned a letter for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet regarding the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey.

Demirtaş, who is being held in a prison in the western province of Edirne since Nov. 4, 2016, said that the June 24 elections will be a historical breaking point for Turkish politics, but it will be on the side of the oppressed if all progressive and revolutionary groups join forces.

While President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the joint presidential candidate of the People’s Alliance, which consists of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the İYİ (Good) Party, the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democrat Party (DP) decided to form an alliance that will run against the former bloc.

The former HDP co-chair was arrested over his alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and faces decades in jail.

While the AKP bloc keeps trying to ‘do the marketing’ of a bad product with an advertising campaign, we should head towards the elections via building labor, justice, peace, secularism, freedom and equality with a radical democratic attitude and alongside the people at each step,” Demirtaş said in his letter published on May 1.

Below is the full text of the letter Demirtaş sent to daily Cumhuriyet:

As we head towards the June 24 elections, I want to underline a couple of issues that are known, but that I see beneficial to be remembered. Above all things, these elections will create a breaking point that will effect decades to come in Turkish politics. With these elections, either the one-man authoritarian regime that became concrete in the AKP mindset will declare its final victory and turn into an absolute dictatorship via increasing the oppressions inflicted until today or the search and struggle for democracy that has been ongoing throughout the history of the Turkish Republic will continue its way by growing stronger.

The government and opposition blocs that take shape around this search will act in accordance with this reality when appearing before voters; either full democracy or full dictatorship. It’s especially significant for the opposition bloc to show that it’s aware of this fact at the level of discourse. However, it’s not quite possible to say that the opposition bloc applies full democracy on the levels of action and practice.

The HDP chose the method to select its presidential and parliamentary candidates in well-attended meetings and directly with the people. Even though it’s insufficient due to lack of time, it’s extremely important and meaningful. Yet, where, how and on which grounds that the main opposition’s candidates are being debated and determined is a complete mystery. To which principles and aims the main opposition’s possible candidates for nomination will serve is unclear. Where, with whom and when these debates are being hold is unknown.

These meetings that are being held in utmost secrecy in order to prevent the AKP bloc’s manipulative interventions also prevent people to participate in the debates. Those who hit the road with the slogan of full democracy will face the problem of credibility if they don’t pave the way for public participation on the level of selecting candidates for nomination.

When we turn into the presidential candidacy issue, I don’t know who met with Abdullah Gül [Erdoğan’s predecessor] directly, as well as the number of these meetings. Or what was the frequency of the meetings with Meral Akşener [İYİ Party leader] or other names cited as possible candidates? What was the subject of discussion? It’s unknown. Still, those who meet with these individuals day and night can’t think of coming together with the powers that carry out the struggle for democracy on the issue of candidacies even once. What’s the reason for not taking the views and suggestions of the June Movement, which became the focus of an utmost qualitative struggle, and its components? Are the suggestions of left and socialist powers, including ÖDP [Freedom and Solidarity Party], EMEP [Party of Labor] and TKP [Turkish Communist Party], labor organizations, professional chambers, unions and non-governmental organizations, platforms and assemblies regarding the elections and candidates are too unimportant? This deficiency needs to be gotten rid of rapidly. Likewise, the way should be paved for the most active participation of Kurdish parties and movements, as well as all of the faith groups, to this discussion process.

All practices of those who aim for full democracy in these elections must be in the style that adds meaning to this aim. It seems that the HDP, its components and all the democracy powers that are in solidarity with the HDP will play a leading role in this issue as always. It’s essential for all organized structures from all strata, including the revolutionary powers, to adopt a leading role immediately.

As the AKP camp is already building a strict one-man regime with all of their practices and discourses, it is expected for the democracy bloc to demonstrate its qualities that will make a difference compared to their rivals. While the fascist government bloc is preparing for a major media-supported bombardment in the shape of a massive “advertisement campaign” via taking advantage of the oppression environment created by the state of emergency and by using all opportunities provided by the state, the opposition will need to carry out a public campaign in discipline and in coordination with the people, progressive powers, assemblies, platforms and all organized structures.

Those who discuss their possible candidates in 5-star hotel rooms in great secrecy can’t include the people to their works during campaigning. While the AKP bloc keeps trying to ‘do the marketing’ of a bad product with an advertising campaign, we should head towards the elections via building labor, justice, peace, secularism, freedom and equality with a radical democratic attitude and alongside the people at each step.

Fostering left democratic values against right fascism and carrying them to power is possible more than ever. If all progressive, revolutionary, public spirited powers and cadres, youth and women present a stance worthy of the leading role via adding all of their energies and time to this struggle, the historical breaking point will be on the side of the oppressed.”


Çeviri: Neşe İdil

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