Why Must We All Support the HDP?

Rebwar Reshid

By Rebwar Rashed:

In about 10 days, on November 1st, Turkey holds its second election since, following the previous election of June 7th, no party was able to win a parliamentary majority and at the same time a coalition government was impossible since the main Turkish traditional political parties, who rest on very traditional reactionary and narrow-minded ideologies, could not cooperate.

The CHP/ Republican People’s Party has been established since 1919, almost one hundred years ago. It’s the party of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the party that had a major role in establishing a Turkey as a “Turkish state” based on racism, hatred and discrimination. The CHP is actually the party behind all atrocities committed against Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Laz, Charkas, Kurds Allewites, Jews and others. The CHP claims to be a social-democratic party and is a member of the Socialist International, but it has had long periods of corruption and militarism. The CHP has managed to survive over many years feeding on fear, populism and myth of Turkishness. Fascistic figures such as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Mustafa İsmet İnönü, Mustafa Bülent Ecevit, Altan Öymen and Baykal Deniz are main faces of the CHP.

The CHP managed some 25% of the votes in the June 7th elections which produced 132 seats in the parliament. The CHP, since 2010, under Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who desperately claims to be a descendant of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, has never succeeded in recovering itself from previous shortcomings.

Then there is the MHP/ Nationalist Movement Party, which is a Turkish extreme-right fascist party with, in reality, hasn’t very much principled differences with the CHP. In recent years there have been changes though: for instance, the CHP has started shyly backed the principle of a “Kurdish peace process” but it never offers details about how to solve this issue, currently the largest national question in the world and one which has cost Turkey billions of dollars, national peace and pride. Other differences could be topics like the Gezi Park incident where the police, under the protection of the AKP, killed, injured and harassed peaceful Turks protesting the government’s environment policy. In this case the MHP defended the police, ignoring their brutality.

Then the Turks have the AKP, the Islamist party which was once seen by the US as a “moderate” factor and a model for the Middle East, but is now a Frankenstein who in reality became successful to make the dead walk and destroy the living.

Turkey’s secularism which is seen as a product of the CHP is not more than an attempt to Europeanize its external appearance, enforced by the military and a totalitarian ideology of narrow-nationalism. Enforcing secularism was never an endeavor to import European civilization with qualities as inclusiveness, equality and social and economic reforms. This enforcement of secularism, because it was in reality an overnight coup and not a long term reform in stages, was never successful. Islam has been penetrating the Turks’ social, economic and political life. The Muslim Turks have tried many times to have their own “Muslim Brotherhood”, and never hesitated to choose a pure Islamic party as soon as they got the chance to do so. The AKP was born with much pain and longing for Islamism!

For that reason, and for sure, the AKP is indeed the biggest party in Turkey, at least until now, and it’s doing everything to achieve a parliamentary majority this time. The goal justifies the means. That is why Turkey’s top national security body is doing everything to designate the PYD and HDP as terrorist organizations. For Turkey, all living Kurds who refuse to surrender are potential terrorists.

The AKP is a Salafist extreme Islamic party with deep ideological differences and nationalist fever among its members, all coming from the Güllenists to ISIS, Jabha Alnusra, and Hizbul Tehrir and so on. The AKP´s conservatism embraces extremist thinking, in practice often fascistic acts, such as the Gezi Park incidents, the riots and deliberate deadly attacks against the HDP and the military offensive against Kurdistan. The same policy can be seen in supporting ISIS and having many problems with all of its neighbors.

From having a dream of building a Sultanate, to “liberating” Jerusalem and re-taking the so-called Ottoman lands and implementing Sharia laws — these were a few ambitions on the long list, of not only a totalitarian person, but a totalitarian ideology and a totalitarian-minded political party.

HDP’s Co-chairmen Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş

HDP’s Co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş

Then there is the HDP, which is a reformist political party which sounds almost revolutionary due to its warm, ambitious, self-confidence and active role in Turkey. The HDP is the only political party in Turkey’s history that genuinely believes in democracy, freedom and social welfare, not only for the Turk, but also for Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians and other ethnic groups and religions.

The AKP’s fierce fight against the HDP is in reality the CHP’s and the MHP’s fight too. Both CHP and MHP don’t feel comfortable with the HDP due to their politically, morally, socially and economically corrupted nature. But the AKP has not left any space for a political co-operation, even in the sphere of ultra-nationalism and “Turkish unity” dogmas.

So why must we all — democrats, humanists, feminists and liberty lovers and others who doesn’t accept war and violence as a political alternative — support the HDP?

Every evidence is telling us that in the November 1st election the AKP will not get more votes than on June 7th. This means Mr. Erdogan will not get his 400 seats which he wanted in the first place and for which he started a war against Kurdish people. The AKP could get fewer votes and this could bring their political tolerance below the bottom line. The terror attack of October 10th in Ankara, in which over one hundred people died and hundreds were injured, could be just the start of a long and a terrible violence.

The Turkish traditionalist parties (the AKP is a product of the Arabic Muslim-Brotherhood´s ideology) can never bring about an inclusive democratic society with human rights, civic liberties and social justice as long as their ideologies rests on totalitarianism, Islam, ultra-nationalism and exclusiveness.

The only political party in contemporary Turkey which could solve the Kurdish issue, along with the national and democratic rights of everyone, is the HDP. Unlike the others, the HDP has no history of carrying out suppression; it has a clear solution, focused thinking, and it embraces the young and the old together and is against the patriarchal system of women-oppression.

All the terror attacks which have taken place hitherto were directed against Kurdish people and the majority of them have happened and are happening in Kurdistan area, not in Turkish Anatolia. But peace-wanting Turks have been among the victims too, Turks who don’t see Kurds as a threat and refuse to believe in violence as a mean of solving political problems. This means that the political establishment is bidding for a civil war between Kurds and Turks. There have already been looting, property damage, confiscations, displacement of Kurdish business shops and centers, especially in Turkish areas of Anatolia.
Bringing the violence up to the level of Turks against Kurds could bring about a situation similar to the Rwanda genocide, as many Turks have weapons, and they have the strong support of the military and the secret-services, while Kurds have no means to defend themselves and are already in a poor and a defenseless position. Turkish commandos who are laying “police force” in Kurdish areas have already started to show themselves in civil clothes and ISIS-appearance, even shouting slogans such as “Allah Is the Greatest!” in Arabic and so on.

The Turkish state’s war against Kurds has claimed the lives of thousands of people in Kurdistan, mostly civilians, while there are only military and police causalities among Turks.

The HDP’s victory and thus its presence in a coalition government would also mean freeing thousands of Kurdish political prisoners, among them Mr. Ocalan whose doctrine for a peaceful coexistence based on mutual respect and mutual interest can pave the way for a reconciliation process, not only between Turks and Kurds, but also between Turks and Armenians, Turks and Assyrians, Turks and Kurdish Allawites, and Turks and other ethnic groups.

Mr. Ocalan´s desire for peace, democracy and freedom can serve as a stabilizing factor for the Middle East and therefore should be respected and answered accordingly. He has been in prison for over 16 years only because of his will to fight oppression and injustice.

So, the HDP alternative means peace, liberty, freedom, social welfare, equality of the sexes and human rights and these are key words in an area that been the cradle of enmity for so many years. We have to give peace a chance!

Rebwar Rashed is a nonpartisan political activist and Co-President of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)

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