Istanbul mayor celebrates HDP co-chair's Newroz: We will weave democracy together

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition CHP, has phoned HDP Co-chair Pervin Buldan to celebrate the spring the festival of Newroz. İmamoğlu told Buldan that they will “continue to weave the cornerstones of democracy together” in the phone call, according to a statement released by the HDP.

This collage photo shows HDP Co-chair Buldan (L) and Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu.

Duvar English

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), phoned Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-chair Pervin Buldan on March 19 to celebrate Newroz.

According to a statement released by the HDP, İmamoğlu told Buldan that the closure case launched against the party and the expulsion of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu from the parliament go against democracy.

İmamoğlu also reportedly said that the two sides will “continue to weave the cornerstones of democracy together.”

Hundreds of thousands of Turkey's minority Kurds celebrate Newroz every year - the start of the Kurdish New Year. The festivities are marked by music, dancing and jumping across fires to signify the passing of the year, and culminate on March 21.

The celebrations are the most important event of the Kurds' cultural calendar, but in previous years, many of the festivities were marred by violence. 

As the government continues its harsh crackdown on the HDP, the threat of a legal closure hangs over over the party. A Turkish prosecutor filed a case with the Constitutional Court on March 17 demanding a ban on the party. 

The move was severely criticized by Turkish opposition parties, with many CHP lawmakers calling on the Constitutional Court to end this “unlawfulness” as soon as possible.

The United States and Europe also criticized the move to open the court case, saying it undermined democracy.

The lawsuit came soon after the parliament stripped MP Gergerlioğlu of his parliamentary status.

Turkey has a long history of shutting down political parties which it regards as a threat and has in the past banned a series of other pro-Kurdish parties.

The HDP had recently come under intensified pressure, with nationalist allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) calling for it to be banned over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

That has coincided with falling poll support for the AKP and its nationalist allies as Erdoğan's government battles the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Elections are not scheduled until 2023.

The HDP said prosecutors acted on political orders and accused the ruling AKP of shaping politics through the courts.