For how long will the HDP act like a party of Turkey?

Published 01.06.2015 22:49
Updated 02.06.2015 00:25

For long years we have been following the weekly parliamentary group meetings of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), all the way back when the party was called Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). In all those years it caught our attention that the HDP and the BDP were in fact very progressive in their line of thought regarding minority issues, the plights of the underprivileged masses in Turkey, on children's rights, on gender equality, violence against women and on the rights of animals.

We aired these views on TV and in print media at the time and said that when you take away the pro-PKK element of the HDP and BDP and when you take away the pro-Kurdish slant in their messages you actually come up with a rather progressive party that in fact is a good alternative to the current main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), which is supposed to be left-wing and progressive, but in fact is rather nationalistic and conservative in many ways.

That is why many people who would normally vote for the CHP voted for the HDP presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş who got about 9.2 percent of the votes and made a strong impact.

On Sunday the nation will go to cast their votes and the verdict of the people of Turkey will be final.

There is strong indication that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will remain in power but its majority will possibly decrease. What is not certain is the plights of the HDP. There is talk that the HDP may just pass the 10 percent threshold or remain just below it.

Whatever the outcome, the HDP will continue to play a major role in Turkish politics. If the party manages to rid itself from the shackles of the PKK and act like the party of Turkey then it may contribute positively to the development of real democracy in Turkey inside or outside the Parliament. It is preferable that the HDP remains inside the Parliament and plays a constructive role in the writing of a new constitution which is essential. However, if the HDP remains under the influence of the PKK and tries to dictate a constitution that will eventually divide Turkey then we really have a serious problem.

However, if the HDP acts like a progressive party and imposes its will on the AK Party drafting a progressive constitution to the benefit of all shades of ideologies and ethnicities, then we will have a durable and viable constitution.

If the HDP remains outside the Parliament and falls into the trap of the PKK and tries to create havoc in Turkey then again we have a serious problem. But if the HDP with its 9 percent of votes takes a democratic stance and challenges the election results and demands new elections then that too is acceptable. But these are indications that the PKK is just waiting for the right moment after the polls to create violence and discord that will drag the HDP into a mess. The violent incidents in early September when the HDP drove its supporters into the streets leading to bloody scenes remains fresh in our minds.

There have been all kinds of provocations to derail the elections. The saboteurs have targeted HDP rallies, AK Party and HDP buildings and it is clear that a series of violent incidents have all been designed to stall the elections. The HDP as well as all of the other parties have kept their cool until now. Let us hope that we arrive safely at the ballot box.

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