HDP receives major blow in southeastern provinces, AK Party makes gains

FATIH ŞEMSETTIN IŞIK @semssami
ISTANBUL
Published 02.11.2015 01:34

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) suffered a major setback in Sunday's elections and lost significant support in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern provinces.

While the party passed the 10 percent national election threshold in the June 7 elections with 13.1 percent, the party barely passed it this time with just over 10 percent.

Some votes that went to the HDP on June 7 shifted to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the latest elections.

As 80 HDP deputies would have remained in Parliament if a coalition had been formed after June 7, the party will now send around 60.

The HDP has been criticized for failing to distance itself from the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

During an election rally in May, HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş said that the HDP would persuade the PKK to demilitarize, rather than the AK Party.

However, after the elections, he could not keep this promise and said that it was impossible for the PKK to lay down its arms. "There is no chance that this will happen," Demirtaş said, adding that the Turkish government should instead say: "We are ready to halt all operations, and the PKK should also silence its weapons. We are ready for a mutual cease-fire."

In addition to taking pressure off the PKK to give up its weapons, HDP officials even praised the terrorist organization's activities.

In July, Pervin Buldan, deputy chairperson of HDP said the PKK "is not a terrorist organization," sparking immediate outrage on social media. In August, she paid a visit to the family of a PKK terrorist killed by Turkish security forces in the Lice district of the southeastern Diyarbakır province. She tweeted a photo from the commemoration of the terrorist, with a note which read, "We are attending the commemoration of Şoreşger who was martyred in Lice." Ziya Çalışkan, HDP's deputy from Şanlıurfa province also attended the funeral of terrorists.

HDP's co-spokesman and İzmir Deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü said that PKK terror attacks on Turkish security forces are not "a matter of condemnation" in a live broadcast on BBC on August 6.

HDP's co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ praised the PKK terrorist organization, and referred to it as "a national liberation movement and also an organization that stands for democracy and equality."

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