The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) visit to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) continues to occupy the top spots on Turkey’s agenda.
It also increased the tension between the opposition right-wing nationalist İYİ (Good) Party and the HDP, once again.
On Nov. 2, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and AKP group deputy chair Mustafa Elitaş visited opposition parties at the parliament to discuss the new constitutional amendment that the ruling AKP is preparing on headscarf and family issues. Among the parties they visited was also the HDP, which the AKP itself is trying to portray as the “leg of terrorism.”
After the visit, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener on Nov. 9 said that “You know, for a long time, the AKP accused us of forming a secret alliance with the HDP. Some HDP accused us of fascism. Those who stigmatized the İYİ Party and those who tried to isolate the İYİ Party finally met in the same camp. AKP deputies were not ashamed to have a meeting with the HDP, which they equated with the PKK,” during her party’s parliamentary group meeting.
“The interesting thing is that HDP deputies were not ashamed to have a meeting with the AKP, which they always criticized, for arresting their leader and appointing trustees to their municipalities,” she added.
Responding to the İYİ Party leader, HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said on Nov. 11 that Akşener “once again showed her hostility towards Kurds.”
“(She) has made it his duty to insult the HDP and the Kurds every day. There is a female leader who does not hesitate to spread the seeds of hatred. The statements made by her at the last group meeting clearly showed us that she once again revealed her hostility towards Kurds,” Buldan said.
In response, İYİ Party spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu said on Nov. 11 that Buldan “has chosen to resort to groundless accusations and insults by adopting a polarizing language of hate, exceeding the limits of decency.”
“The Kurds are the honorable citizens of this country. We reject all forms of discrimination. As İYİ Party, we emphasize once again that we will continue to work with the same determination as the first day for the goal of building a happy, peaceful, prosperous and free Turkey that every member of our nation deserves,” he further said.
The headscarf was once a source of deep discord in Muslim but secular Turkey -- its once-powerful secular establishment saw it as a symbol of radical Islam and a threat to the secular order. But the question ceased to stir controversy after reforms by the Islamist-rooted AKP during its 20 years in power.
However the secularist CHP, a party having long opposed the wearing of headscarves in parliament and public offices, revived the issue last month with a proposal to enshrine the right, in an attempt to attract support from devout Turks.
In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the stakes and proposed a constitutional reform on the issue encompassing measures to protect the family from what he called "perverse trends," appearing to take aim at global same-sex marriage laws.
The AKP lifted the headscarf ban for students in universities in 2010 and for public employees in 2013.