Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Batman deputy and Women’s Assembly spokesperson Ayşe Acar Başaran spoke on the woman-oriented approach of her party and the activities organised around the International Day For Eliminating Violence Against Women.
The HDP endorses a co-presidency system that is rarely seen in other parts of the world. The party implements equal gender representation across all party boards. Başaran explained the party’s woman-centric style.
A feminine politics
Başaran said that parties were structures dominated by men, and that the field of politics as operated by men had no space for women.
Başaran explained: “The HDP is pluralist and organised from the local level. We have women’s assemblies. These consist of female communities, including women from Turkish movements to Kurdish movements, Alevi women to Arab women – women from all cultures and religions. We have a style of politics created by female perspectives. We have a mechanism enabling a turn towards a more feminine politics”.
The new criteria
Acar said the party operated in accordance with social gender equality. “Equal representation and the co-presidency system are the criteria we have adopted”, she said. According to Acar, all mechanisims, including commissions, were constructed on that criteria. “We operate this system in our all cities and structures. The co-presidency system we implemented in the party does not exist in other parts of the world. In Turkey, after we launched the system, some other parties and NGO’s began to implement co-presidency systems. Our local administrations operate under the co-presidency system”.
On the subject of violence against women, Acar said the HDP had rules protecting the idea of a “female party”. Acar pointed out that a person who committed a crime against a woman could not participate in the party, and sanctions, including suspension and dismissal, were imposed in these cases. Decisions, Acar added, were made by considering gender equality in the party and local administrations.
Violence in Kurdish cities
Regarding the recent Women’s Assembly meeting, Acar pointed to violence in Kurdish cities and said, “Now harassment, rape and violence as war policies are on the agenda in Kurdish cities”. Recalling the death of İpek Er, Acar said, “Turkey has fallen behind in terms of democracy, rights, freedoms and women’s rights”.
While tyrannical regimes attack women’s achievements across the world, Acar said that there was a burgeoning women’s liberationist communal movement against the male-dominant system.
Regarding the importance of 25 November, Acar said they launched projects on 7 November with the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) and Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) and that events would continue for one month. Acar also added that they would show the importance of the Istanbul Conventşon to women and hold a workshop. On 25 November they will take to the streets and the squares, she added.
Principles of a liberal, equal and democratic life
According to Yeni Yaşam’s report, the HDP Women’s Assembly stated that the principles of achieving a liberal, equal and democratic way of life are as follows:
- Creating politics and struggling actively against any type of violence against women.
- Considering legal defence to be a basic human right, and helping women to organise their own legal defence.
- Considering the leading role of women in the spread of peace, and struggling against male-dominant, discriminatory, nationalist, racist, sexist and militarist policies.
- Struggling against genocide, forced migration policies and making an effort to bring together the widest range of women to fight against fascism and despotism.
- Making efforts to develop a self-governing perspective in all regions, which means citizens, especially women, make their own decisions.
- Struggling against the exploitation of female labour, including domestic labour, by a male-dominant capitalist system in working life, carrying out activities against the exploitation of women’s labour by ensuring effective policies.
- Struggling against the seizure of basic social rights such as health and education and campaigning for education in the native language and culture.
- Improving women’s solidarity by carrying out these activities across the country and the world.