The weather is rainy and cloudy in Diyarbakır, matching the moody political atmosphere. All attention is fixed on the speech Abdullah Öcalan is to deliver at Nevruz celebrations. The streets of Diyarbakır are cautious; people approach all the discussions and statements more warily during the election process. They sometimes get anxious and become critical, but they keep their hopes alive. In a sense, people understand that a 100-year-old problem can have its ups and downs, and so do not expect radical changes in the short run.
But it is evident that even the continuation of the reconciliation process, which has marked the agenda of last two years, is enough to give hope to people. This is why they warmly welcomed the Peace Train that took off from Istanbul and arrived in Diyarbakır. This is the common public approach in Diyarbakır. But the approach of politics is stricter. In the region, the elections have three outstanding actors: the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the Free Cause Party (HÜDA PAR).
Due to the Nevruz events, Diyarbakır has enjoyed a great deal of attention over the last couple of days. Planes and hotels are full. Aside from national and international press and special delegates, old left-wing groups also show a great interest in Nevruz and Kurdish politics, which mobilizes the corridors of politics even more. Wherever you go, you can hear discussions regarding the reconciliation process, the status issue of the Kurds and government-İmralı-Qandil relations; but the discussions always come to the HDP's decision to join the elections as a party. The real question is: will the HDP exceed the election threshold? The answer and expectation of the people in the region is: "Yes."
However, some other calculations are being made. The AK Party receives more votes than the HDP all over the region, and it is aware of its own advantaged position. This advantage is expected to increase with the cessation of the armed conflict and the HDP's decision to join the elections as a party. Even this example demonstrates that in Diyarbakır, the HDP currently has six deputies and the AK Party has five. Regarding the upcoming elections, the HDP thinks that they will have seven or eight deputies in Diyarbakır, while the AK Party thinks it will have four or five. But this picture reveals a different expectation: The number of presumptive candidates applying to the AK Party is 210, while only 106 applied to the HDP, which is due to the likelihood of the HDP's remaining under the threshold.
In brief, the HDP, which decided to join the elections as a party in order to make a political leap, is preparing for the elections by exerting all its efforts to prevent this risk. It is aiming high, but its ground is quite slippery, which confuses minds. Besides, the only cause of confusion is not the threshold issue. The HDP's political stance also contributes to the confusion. The HDP, or the PKK, displays a more nationalist stance, or a stance underlining the idea that Kurdistan is oppressed in their own terms. The political language has a defiant tone rather than a civil one. Outside of the region, they follow a more "Turkified" politics. The HDP is going to elections with such question marks hanging over it. Seemingly, it will try to fight for the elections with this dual identity.
For this reason, the election region is divided into three groups: yellow, red, and green. The regions that outstandingly supporting them, such as Diyarbakır, are marked with green, and it is said they will receive most of their votes from there. The yellow regions are where they have the potential to increase their votes, such as Erzurum. But what they really work on are the provinces marked in red such as Gaziantep, Manisa, Konya, İstanbul, İzmir and Ankara. In order to exceed the 10-percent election threshold, they plan to focus on those provinces and seek votes from both the Republican People's Party (CHP) grassroots and the Kurds living in those cities.
At this stage, it cannot be guessed how these calculations will affect the elections, but it is clear that the upcoming elections will reform many aspects of politics.