Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Workers’ Party (TİP), Labor Party (EMEP), Social Freedom Party (TÖP), Labor Movement Party (EHP), Socialist Assemblies Federation (SMF) will officially announce its establishment as a political alliance on Sept. 24 in a meeting in Istanbul.
The alliance, which will set out with the slogan "We will succeed together," will announce a declaration at its introductory meeting.
In the declaration, messages will be given on many issues, especially the economy, poverty, the Kurdish problem, and the narrowing of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Explaining the roadmap for the next process as "to explain the alliance to the society as a third option and to expand the alliance," Tuncer Bakırhan, the deputy co-chair of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) of the Commission on Relations with NGOs and Political Parties, told Gazete Duvar that the existing political alliances do not give hope to the society.
There are currently two political alliances in Turkey: The ruling alliance named People’s Alliance including Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP); and the opposition alliance named Nation Alliance including the Republican People’s Party (CHP), İYİ (Good) Party, Felicity (Saadet) Party, Democrat Party, DEVA (Democracy and Progress) Party, and Future (Gelecek) Party.
Below are the questions asked by Gazete Duvar and Bakırhan’s answers:
As the 'Labor and Freedom Alliance,' you will announce your declaration at a meeting to be held in Istanbul on Sept. 24. What topics will this declaration cover? What messages will be given? What will be your particular emphasis?
The Labor and Freedom Alliance will say "we are here too." The declaration to be announced in this context will include solutions to Turkey's main problems. What are these problems: Social problems such as restrictions in the field of rights and freedoms, Kurdish issue, Alevis' equal citizenship rights, unemployment, economic crisis, poverty, victims of presidential decrees, rights of young people, women's rights, environmental rights and democracy.
As far as we understand, messages will be given on economy, poverty, fundamental rights and freedoms. Do you have an alliance slogan including all these messages?
Of course we have several slogans, not just one. First of all, we will say "We will succeed together." Then we will have slogans that emphasize problems such as "an economic order that will make you work and live humanely" and "a democracy based on the sovereignty of the people."
The message of "struggle" will also be given in our program. This alliance is actually an alliance of struggle.
What kind of a common line of struggle does the Labor and Freedom Alliance aim to establish? What does your partnership mean at this point? What do you say about the criticisms claiming this alliance is being formed for elections?
Although the alliance is being formed during the election process, it is not an "election alliance." As I have said before, our alliance is purely an alliance of struggle. "Election alliance" does not describe us. Creating a democratic option in Turkey is the expectation of the society from us. The reason we came together is because all the problems in the country are our problem.
The general problem of leftist establishments in the world is that they cannot create a strong alternative as it also happens in Turkey. This time, we are trying to create a real option and this alliance will of course put the election on its agenda.
How will your roadmap be shaped after the declaration? What steps will be taken?
The real work will begin after the announcement of the declaration. A serious transformation is inevitable in Turkey. In this context, a serious organization is needed to stop the great destruction (of the government) in the country. In order to achieve this, we have to penetrate into the largest cells of society and explain well that there is a third way. Our roadmap will be shaped through the “expansion perspective."
What do you mean by the “expansion perspective”?
We will work to get the attention of a much wider audience. This alliance is not limited to political parties and some institutions. If we cannot create an alternative for people who believe they are stuck politically and think they are left without options, we cannot create a force that will stop the destruction in the country.
Don't the existing alliances give hope for the solution of the problems in Turkey?
Turkish society is uncomfortable with the current order. Neither alliance gives hope to society. One of them has destroyed, emptied, polarized; the other suggests only dressing up all this wreckage. Of course this is not what we need. There is a real need for change and transformation. The only address that can dare to do this is the Labor and Freedom Alliance.
How do you see the voting potential of the alliance?
There are many survey studies showing the HDP between 13-16 percent. In addition, our alliance components have a serious power. Therefore, expanding this alliance and showing the society that there can be a third option will allow us to get more votes. Of course, it would not be very appropriate to give a precise number in advance; however, there is a potential of around 20 percent.
HDP said they can support Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate if common ground is established. As an alliance, has this changed? Or are you saying that you will nominate your own candidate?
We haven't talked to our allies about this yet. If I have to speak on behalf of HDP, our opinion is that all opposition parties should nominate a common candidate around common principles. Probably, after the alliance is declared and expanded, we will put these issues on our agenda.
How do you view the main opposition CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy?
Of course, the name, identity and quality of the candidates are important, but we look at the perspective that the candidate proposes to social problems. Do they have the willpower to solve problems? Do they have the hope and belief that they will create a democratic ground which will save Turkey from this destruction? These will be decisive for us. We take a purely principled approach. Kılıçdaroğlu draws an embracing profile that we value. But whether he is a candidate or not is entirely a matter of the Nation Alliance itself.
Recently, discussions have been going on in the Nation Alliance over the HDP. The right wing IYI Party's words "We will not sit at the table with HDP" were also widely spoken. How do you view these discussions?
Nation Alliance, including six opposition parties, is not very homogeneous. It is an alliance of parties with different ideological and political perspectives. First of all, let me state that we are definitely not a party to the Nation Alliance. The real discussion agenda is the people themselves. These groundless, false discussions never describe the real agenda. We are the real agenda.
The closure case against HDP continues at the Constitutional Court (AYM). Do you have any preparations for a worst case scenario that HDP will be closed after entering the election process? In such a case, is it among the alternatives to enter the elections with EMEP or TİP?
First of all, let us state that the closure case against HDP is a completely custom-made plot case. We will not have HDP shut down. We have never left our citizens who voted for us without a choice.
In such a case, I would like it to be known that our people will not be left without options, on the contrary, we have many options. They cannot eliminate the millions who voted for the HDP.
(English version by Alperen Şen)