HDP’s main concern ‘not who runs Turkey’s gov’t but building democratic order’: co-chair Buldan

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan responded to recent discussions on the party’s possible involvement in the incoming government if Turkey’s united opposition forces are able to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the upcoming 2023 elections.

“Our fundamental issue is not who will have the government, but to change the collapsed system at once,” Mezopotamya Agency cited Buldan as telling her party’s women’s assemblies on Friday.

The pro-Kurdish left-wing HDP’s goal is to “build a democratic system, changing from top to bottom the discriminatory, oppressive and denialist regime”, Buldan said. “To say it clearly, no approach that fails to have the courage and will to come together with the entirety of the democratic opposition can be a force for solution or offer a future.”

Buldan’s comments come after an ongoing disagreement among Turkey’s opposition parties that have come together under the Nation Alliance, also known as the ‘Table for Six’, over the role the HDP could play in the future.
Main opposition centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gürsel Tekin kickstarted the discussion, saying the HDP could be offered a ministry if the Nation Alliance came to power.

The CHP has announced Tekin’s views did not represent the party’s, more right-wing elements of the alliance have strongly objected to the idea, while HDP officials reject ever having been part of any such negotiations.

“It is clear that the HDP has not entered into any negotiations for ministries with anybody, and that it has no approach outside of the principles that have already been made public,” HDP Deputy Group co-chair Meral Danış Beştaş said in a tweet. “We would like to hear from those who attempt to look down on the HDP with artificial discussions how they plan to embrace society and govern the country.”

“We are the representative force of that which already exists,” Buldan continued at the meeting. “We reject all approaches based on denial, othering and exclusion. We aim to build a democratic, pro-freedom, equal and ecological life before and after the elections.”

Buldan said both the ruling People’s Alliance and the opposition’s Nation Alliance “should know that nobody should base their politics on the HDP. Do not make HDP into political fodder.”

HDP played a key role in the opposition alliance winning big in the 2019 local elections, ending decades of conservative/Islamist rule in Turkey’s capital Ankara and cultural hub Istanbul, as well as other key large cities. The party, third largest in parliament, did not put up its own candidates and campaigned to support all candidates running against the People’s Alliance.

The June 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections are “another matter”, HDP Deputy Group co-chair Saruhan Oluç told Reuters.

“The needs and dynamics are very different,” Oluç said, adding that the party could either support the opposition candidate or put up its own “if negotiations are not held with us”.

The HDP believes the critical aspect was not the identity of the presidential candidate, but for opposition blocs to agree on establishing a strong democracy and an independent judiciary in Turkey under the rule of law, and finding a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem, Oluç explained.

Similarly, Beştaş had said, “If there is no intention for a joint candidate, and if they say the Table for Six does not want support from anybody, HDP will forge its own path … It would be better for all if everybody spoke with the gravitas of a politician, calculating where words go.”

“Change does not mean good nationalists replacing bad nationalists,” Beştaş added. “We speak of building democracy to replace authoritarian fascism. We will continue to fight for this, and we will prevail.


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