HDP spokesman: Party ready to discuss presidency

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 04.11.2015 22:40

After raising the strongest opposition to the government's idea of switching from the parliamentary system to a presidential regime, the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) changed its stance after Sunday's disappointing election results for the party.

HDP spokesman Ayhan Bilgen told members of the press that the country needs a new constitution with democratic, liberal and pluralistic principles, since the current Constitution came out of the 1980 military coup, and added that "any models, including a presidential system can be discussed."

Although he later tried to clarify this statement while speaking to Fırat News Agency (ANF) on Wednesday, it seems that following its decreased votes in Sunday's elections the party is taking a step back from its harsh rhetoric against a presidential system contrary to what was embraced in the election campaign in the previous June 7 elections.

The HDP just passed the electoral threshold with 10.76 percent of the vote and 59 seats in Parliament, declining from the 13.12 percent and 80 seats it received in June.

One reason why the HDP lost this amount in votes in five months could stem from continued PKK violence and the party's inability to convince the PKK to silence its weapons.

HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ occasionally pledged to make the PKK disarm and bring peace to the southeast. Following the June 7 elections, the party and its deputies, however, increasingly sided with the PKK. HDP deputies made remarks that some interpreted as romanticizing terrorists.

Over the course of the last five months, Demirtaş, initially claimed the HDP was the only party in Turkey that could make the PKK disarm, but he later changed tack after the elections.

A remark from Yüksekdağ in particular drew harsh criticism. "We lean on the YPJ [Women's Protection Units], YPG [People's Protection Units] and PYD [Democratic Union Party] and we do not see any harm in mentioning and defending it," Yüksekdağ said, voicing support for a PKK-affiliated group.

In late July, HDP deputy Abdullah Zeydan, threatened Turkey and said the PKK has the power to "drown Turkey in its spit."

In addition to this, HDP deputies were caught delivering aid to the PKK and rushing wounded terrorists to hospitals. Demirtaş's small party rally at the scene of the deadly Ankara twin suicide bombings, where he called on the people to vote for his party and punish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was the final straw for some.

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