HDP discrepancy points to a PKK hand on the party

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 19.06.2015 19:55
Updated 19.06.2015 22:22

The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which cruised pass the 10 percent election hurdle and received 13 percent of the vote in the elections with support from liberals and democrats, has been proving true the warnings that the outlawed PKK is controlling the party, revealing an inconsistent stance since the elections, as it is stuck in limbo between its own will and that of the PKK.

The June 7 elections gave no party sufficient power to rule alone, leading to intense discussions over which parties will come to terms and form a coalition. The ambiguity has not yet been alleviated since none of the parties has thus far negotiated conditions for a coalition. The HDP has been delivering contradictory remarks, which is most likely due to the limbo it is currently in. Turkey is yet to see how the party, which managed to enter Parliament partly by using democratic rhetoric during its campaigning, will manage to satisfy both the PKK and its democratic voters, but so far it seems to have been handling it quite badly, taking into account the discrepancy that emerges in HDP officials' discourse every time senior PKK figures make a comment regarding the party.

Although the HDP desperately tries to detach itself from the PKK and tries to portray itself as an independent political party and as a mediator of the reconciliation process, the PKK's incessant comments, criticism, support and suggestions regarding the party could mean that the HDP is under considerable influence by the PKK.

Ruling party officials warned the public before the elections not to be deceived by the peaceful rhetoric of HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, claiming that those who vote for the party are voting for the PKK in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains, citing that they receive orders from there.

The warning could be a well-founded, as the PKK is making its presence felt with the strong statements it has been delivering.

On the night of the elections, Demirtaş said they were aware that there were custodial votes given to them and that they would do whatever they could to preserve them. Shortly after the remarks, Demirtaş was warned by a senior PKK figure, Mustafa Karasu, who spoke to Nuçe TV a day after the elections and objected to the use of the term "borrowed votes" by Demirtaş. Upon the implicit criticism, Demirtaş changed his discourse and said: "We have not passed the threshold with borrowed votes. We have a strong base."

HDP Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ said on June 15 that the HDP is open to coalition demands. However, following the remarks, a PKK figure, Duran Kalkan, said the party cannot be part of a coalition before imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is released.

The PKK's second-in-command, Murat Karayılan, criticized Demirtaş for being narrow-minded as he has been closing his doors to the AK Party for a coalition.

The HDP's resistance to call on the PKK to lay down arms has also raised questions over its influence on the organization. Demirtaş, who is expected to push the reconciliation process further as promised, said it was not up to him to make the call.

The PKK leadership later released a statement and said they would not lay down arms without Öcalan being liberated.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter