Opposition Green Left Party changes name, becoming more resemblant with HDP

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Green Left Party (YSP) has changed its name to Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP). The party also elected Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç and Tuncer Bakırhan as its new co-chairs.

Ceren Bayar / Gazete Duvar

Turkey’s opposition Green Left Party (YSP) on Oct. 15 held its 4th Grand Congress in the capital Ankara, changing its name and co-chairs.

The party officially changed its name to Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP), (“Halkların Eşitlik ve Demokrasi Partisi” in Turkish), becoming more resemblant with its predecessor Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The YSP became HDP’s backup party in the 2023 general elections due to the closure case awaiting in the Constitutional Court (AYM) of the latter. The party has 57 seats (out of 600) in the parliament.

The new HEDEP also elected lawmakers Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç and Tuncer Bakırhan as its co-chairs. Party assembly members of 80 people were also chosen.

In its new X account, the party shared footage from the congress and said, “Our persistent, determined and brave people, whose enthusiasm does not fit into the halls, the real owners of the struggle…”

In a speech, the new co-chair Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been committing “war crimes” in northern and eastern Syria with the latest operations.

“Turkey and Kurdistan were turned into open prisons. The government’s judiciary has turned into a mechanism that produces injustice with cases of conspiracy and political genocide. Greetings to Gültan Kışanak, Sebahat Tuncel, Ayla Akat, Figen Yüksekdağ, Leyla Güven, Selahattin Demirtaş and political hostage comrades who are unjustly and unlawfully held in prisons,” she said.

HEDEP's new co-chair and lawmaker Tülay Hatimoğulları Oruç

She also said they support “the just struggle of the Palestinian people. We reject Israel's occupation policy on Palestinian lands, which has been continuing for over a hundred years” and added that democratic confederalism “is the only solution in the Middle East,” which has two major problems, “Kurdish problem and Palestinian problem.”

She also criticized the contact ban imposed upon Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and called for the release of him “to build peace.”

“Together, we will establish the Democratic Republic in the second century of the Republic, where workers, laborers, the poor, women, young people, those excluded because of their sexual orientation, environment and human rights defenders, Kurds, Alevis, all peoples and beliefs can live in free, equal, fair and peaceful conditions. Let's not lose another century,” she concluded.

Other new co-chair Tuncer Bakırhan also took the stage and said Turkey should be the first country to “recognize Rojava's status.”

“Today, one of the biggest obstacles to democracy and freedom in the Middle East is the (AKP government). Those who attempt ethnic cleansing against millions of people living in Rojava in front of the world are, first of all, committing crimes against humanity, and this is a shame. We will not allow this crime against humanity,” he said.

HEDEP's new co-chair and lawmaker Tuncer Bakırhan

“The Kurdish problem is a usurpation of will, a trustee regime, blocking the right to politics, banning the Kurdish language, ecological destruction, It is keeping thousands of politicians hostage, such as dear Gültan Kışanak, Sabahat Tuncel, Ayla Akat, Figen Yüksekdağ, Leyla Güven, Selahattin Demirtaş and Günay Kubilay, it is dispossession of Kurds, it is Kurdification of poverty, it is leaving Kurds without graves, it is taking away the right to mourn. The Kurdish problem is the Kurds being left without status,” Bakırhan added.

Commenting the new constitution preparation of the government, Bakırhan said “This government, closing down political parties, usurping the will of the people with the trustee regime, not recognizing the ECHR rulings, annulling the Istanbul Convention, banning the right of workers to strike, taking Gezi Park resisters hostage, conspiring against democratic politics and trampling on the law, and detaining the Saturday Mothers every week, is going to make a civil constitution!”

“As the oppressed people of the country, we want a truly egalitarian, truly democratic and truly civil constitution. We are ready to make a constitution that will solve all the problems in the country, especially the Kurdish problem,” he added.

The congress also received messages from HDP politicians who are in prison, such as . former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş.

On the other hand, LGBTI+ rights, which were widely included in the HDP charter, were not included in the new HEDEP charter, and only the remarks of “equality of gender identity and sexual orientation differences” was emphasized, LGBTI+ advocacy group Kaos GL reported.

(English version by Alperen Şen)