Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır Deputy Altan Tan said the HDP has lost its voters to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) because of its violent politics, which no one within the party dares to acknowledge in words.
"Kurdish voters objected to the violent politics [of the HDP]. They did not approve the political stance of the PKK [terrorist organization], which again turned toward violence in 2015. It is hard for people to accept this situation. No one can say out loud that the ‘PKK did it wrong.' Digging ditches, civil war, conflict, violence, terror. ...All of these were wrong.'"
On Wednesday, Tan responded to questions asked by Azad Altun, a reporter for Iraqi-Kurdish K24 (Kurdistan 24), saying that approximately 1.5 per cent of 2 per cent conservative Kurdish votes that had shifted to the HDP after the June 7 elections were returned back to the AK Party as a result of the HDP's violent politics. "Kurdish voters who came from the AK Party objected to the [HDP's] violent politics. They did not approve the political attitude of the PKK over the last two years. Yet, the conservative voters who said ‘no' did not surrender to the AK Party, either," Tan said, indicating that the HDP will continue to lose supporters if it fails to analyze the results of the referendum properly and take action accordingly.
He further indicated that the AK Party votes decreased 10 percent across Turkey, which is a serious decline, yet, in Kurdish cities AK Party had significantly increased its votes.
"There was a relative increase in AK Party votes in Kurdish cities in the referendum. Although the ‘no' votes were still very strong, they were not as high in number as the former elections," Altan said, adding: "The main reason is obvious. People do not want a civil war. Thus, they want to support the democratic politics." Tan asserted in January that his party should have rejected the "violence" of the PKK, admitting that the PKK has increased its terror activities despite the HDP's success in the June 7 elections.
The HDP has come under fire for its close links to the PKK terrorist organization. Members of the party have so far refrained from calling the PKK a "terrorist group," and have attended the funerals of PKK militants, two of whom were identified as the suicide bombers that killed dozens of civilians in multiple bombings in Ankara. Since then, inner criticism regarding party politics is on the rise.
The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and Turkey. Formed in 1978, the group fought against the Turkish state for an independent Kurdistan until the early 2000s and the group has since shifted its goal toward gaining autonomy in the predominately Kurdish regions of Turkey.