The People’s Democratic Party (HDP) should aim for coming to power as a part of the democracy alliance, former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said, as he commented on the party’s upcoming congress.
“As a political party, the HDP should set its target as aiming for power in the next elections via being a part of the democracy alliance,” Demirtaş told news website Artı Gerçek, adding that he believes the party’s power to do so.
“The HDP, state mentality and other political parties should openly discuss the tremendous benefits of a government with the HDP,” he also said.
Demirtaş, who has been in jail for over three years on charges linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), also said that the people expect the HDP to provide a solution to the years-long Kurdish issue.
“A HDP that’s the hope of a solution with its members, discourse, alliances and actions is everyone’s common expectation,” he said.
Saying that coming up with policies for the solution of the Kurdish issue is not incompatible with being a party of all the oppressed peoples of Turkey, Demirtaş noted that the concept of becoming a party of Turkey was misunderstood both by Kurds and those who are not.
“Kurds thought that it means Turkization, while those who are not Kurds thought that it’s getting away from the Kurdish issue. I think that both approaches are wrong. HDP has been struggling for a solution to all problems of Turkey, including the Kurdish issue,” he said.
“It’s not possible to solve these issues via separating them from each other when they are so entangled. When you look at it this way, the HDP is not only the party of Kurds, but a party of people that all citizens can find themselves represented. It’s not a party of the state, because the state doesn’t have a party. Political parties represent the people in democracies,” Demirtaş added.
During his interview, Demirtaş noted that plenty of parties in Turkey’s center politics have positioned themselves as state parties and became fiery defendants of the official ideology.
“This is called ‘becoming a party of Turkey.’ When the HDP doesn’t abide by this definition, they anathematize the HDP and shout, ‘You are not a party of Turkey.’ They are correct to some degree, because, as I said, the HDP is not a party of the state, but a party of the peoples of Turkey,” Demirtaş said.
“State parties can’t be parties of Turkey via defending a solution to the Kurdish issue because the official state ideology is not appropriate for that. However, the HDP can do both at the same time,” he also said, adding that he conveyed his thoughts to the party for the upcoming congress on Feb. 23.
Saying that the current crisis, deadlock and destruction can be overcome if political movements that unite in democratic principles act together, Demirtaş noted that a single party can’t do it alone since the current situation created by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is so grave.
“A democracy alliance can be formed with all the political structures that can unite around a program that foresees all freedoms and a democratic society-state structuring within the framework of a new constitution. A democracy coalition can be formed after the elections. They can carry out a process of transition to democracy,” he said, adding that he expects elections to be held earlier than 2023.
Demirtaş also said that the solution to Turkey’s problems can be found easier if the HDP becomes a part of the government.
“All options excluding the HDP would lead to a delay in finding solutions,” he noted.
“Hence, we need to stop being in the position of ‘demanding’ and position ourselves as those ‘performing,'” Demirtaş added.