On March 10, 2019, when Turkey was on the verge of local elections, I finalized the below piece as “There’s a fairly large elephant in the room for upcoming local elections, called “Kurdish votes,” whoever asks for success must raise the stakes.” After experiencing the local elections and the re-run in Istanbul plus a year, let’s revise the position of political parties and see whether the elephant is still in the room.
After the local elections, there is no doubt that the Kurdish votes were a complete game–changer in the Turkish political arena, yet the parties in the National Alliance (CHP, IYI) continue to have the same old, hesitant and fearful attitude. Pro- Kurdish party HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) still remains as a fairly large elephant in the room. Both the CHP (People’s Republic Party) and the IYI (Good) Party – also the Saadet (Felicity) Party and the newcomers to the DEVA (Remedy) Party of Ali Babacan and the Gelecek (Future) Party of Ahmet Davutoğlu–are not clear about their stance towards the HDP, the pro-Kurdish party. It is obvious that they are attempting to avoid the President’s efforts to link everything and everyone close to HDP as terrorists and traitors. The elements of the alliance include Turkish nationalists who have an unyielding and resistive attitude to the issue that has proved to be wrong over the years. It is also essential for the pro-Kurdish HDP party to make an accurate decision as to its position in this alliance; and, of course, other opposition groups should also state clearly their relationship with the HDP.
After all, for the opposition bloc, there is no other way but to unite and act together. The common ground needed is as clear as crystal, with all its tools it will be pluralism, rule of law and democracy, however, once again, the heterogeneous structure of opposition must be put forward and the differences should urgently be analyzed. It’s all about reuniting, coming together again for the greater good for restoring a democratic country with rule of law from the ashes of the past 19 years. If there is intention of mutual understanding, the common ground and solutions to countless problems can be found, although it will definitely be a painful process for all fractions of opposition.
Unity was previously experienced in Gezi Park Protests, which harbored a massive potential for social and political transformation over the polarization caused by conflict history, and also increased public perception of political conflict by sweeping away the classical left – right and secular-Islamist confrontations. Without direct political party and fractional initiation, it mobilized different groups. In other words, unity between different groups was once achieved, so with different tools it can be done again.
As Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former leader of the pro – Kurdish party HDP, mentioned in his tweet on July 8, 2020:
“It is – of course – a must to wage an effective struggle for democracy both inside and outside the Parliament. In doing this, we should not refrain from standing or being seen side by side without making any distinctions between Turk-Kurd, Alevi-Sunni or secular-conservative.
Turkey belongs to us all. We are Turkey all together. So, we need to display the virtue of ruling together and building the future together.
Therefore, be both hopeful and resolute; be both anxious and courageous. We are almost there. The good will win, we will win all together.” (Quote from Bianet English)