The Turkish government has cracked down on Halkların Demokratik Partisi – HDP, the People’s Democratic Party, numerous times since the 2014 Elections. The latest action against the left wing party is nothing less than an attempt of its closure.
The alleged reason, to cite the words of chief public prosecutor of Turkey’s Court of Cassation: “The HDP and its members, through their statements and actions, have aimed to damage and break the unity of the state with the Turkish people.”
Erdoğan’s fury was initially provoked by the electoral success of HDP which has surpassed the exceedingly high census of 10% and prevented the AKP, Erdoğan’s party, from having a supermajority in parliament. In the local election of 2019 the ruling coalition of AKP and MHP suffered defeats in all major cities, which was a consequence of the HDP’s decision to support the coalition of opposition parties CHP and İyi-Party.
The government’s assaults on the HDP are numerous. The immunity of 14 HDP MP’s had been stripped since 2015 and 9 of them were jailed. The AKP-MHP regime illegally took over 49 municipalities that the HDP won in the elections, and appointed its own “trustees”.
According to the report “Will Extortion and Trustee Facts”, 72 municipal co-chairs were detained and 37 municipal co-chairs, including 19 women, were held in prisons.
“The current authoritarian AKP regime, supported by a fascist partner, MHP, controls all organs of the state. They want everyone to think like Erdoğan, which is impossible. That is why the HDP, in spite of systematic repression and oppression, is in a strong opposition role and is a key political actor in Turkey” tells us Devriş Çimen, European Representative of the People’s Democratic Party.
The HDP understands the issues society is facing as a consequence of the democratic deficit and offers solutions to these issues in its program and policies, explains Çimen.
“The People’s Democratic Party commits itself to the freedom of peoples, religions, freedom and equality of women and peace in a democratic Turkey. It has a political tradition of 30 years and an electorate of more than 6 million people.”
Although on 31 March the Constitutional Court rejected the request to ban HDP, according to Devriş Çimen political control outweighs the reliability of legal institutions.
Immediately after the decision not to approve the ban, The MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli sharply attacked the Constitutional Court and declared: “Is the Constitutional Court standing up for the sovereignty of the judiciary or is it a claqueur of separatism? Just like the closure of the HDP, the closure of the Constitutional Court must be a goal that cannot be postponed by now.”
“It is a funny situation that a so-called ‘politician’ publicly declares war on the highest court in the country and demands its closure. In fact, in this case, the Constitutional Court should take action against this politician, but it lacks the strength to do so.”
Not only is the judicial system weak, but the repeated crackdowns on the People’s Democratic Party Çimen considers to be a sign of dictatorship.
“Many of our deputies, including our former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, dozens of co-mayors, hundreds of officials and over 4000 members of the HDP are imprisoned. We say that they are ‘political hostages’ of the AKP regime, which has also seized 49 out of 65 municipalities of the HDP by the appointment of ‘trustees’. So it’s not the judicial system; it’s the dictatorship.”
When the news about the possibility of banning the HDP broke out, more than 30 countries, a hundred political parties and hundreds of members of parliament expressed their solidarity with the party, sais Çimen.
International support would be encouraging for the left-wing party yet again on April 26, when the indictment in the “Kobanê trial” starts in Ankara. In this trial 108 politicians are prosecuted for “disturbing the unity of the state and integrity of the country” and for the death of the 37 people who where killed by the Islamic State – IS. Among those under trial are the former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, who are in custody.
The background of the “Kobanê trial” is that on the evening of October 6, 2014, the IS terrorist militia had succeeded in entering the centre of the city after 21 days of resistance by the defence units YPG/YPJ and the people of Kobanê. The vast majority of those killed by IS were sympathisers of HDP, stated the party in a press release.
In view of the critical situation, the HDP had called on the public to protest against the Turkish government for not ending its support for IS. The purpose of the “Kobanê trial”, explains Çimen, is to depict HDP as dangerous to the public and to turn resistance in Kobanê into “criminal offence”.
Despite this difficult road of repression and barriers, says the European representative, the HDP will not back down. On the contrary, together with all social and opposition groups, it will continue to organise and resist.
The ambition of the HDP is fight for the change of the Constitution of Turkey, for it is anti-democratic. The vision of the party is that Kurds, Alevis, Christians (Armenians, Assyrians, Pontos), Yazidis, Circassians, Romas, Lazes, Arabs and all other groups live together with the Turk in a democratic nation as free citizens and in dignity.
“The Constitution considers all others who do not submit to Turkishness, as enemies and declares outlawed. Under the current Constitution, all other peoples are excluded and the liberties and rights are robbed, which do not submit to Turkism. All other issues in Turkey have to do with the Constitution. This constitution gives Erdoğan the opportunity to act as he does.”