As Turkey stands on a critical threshold today and a large part of the society is looking for ways to get out of the crisis the country is in, at the beginning of the second century of the foundation of the republic, it is necessary to establish democracy irrevocably, said Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Mithat Sancar on Saturday during his opening speech for the Democratic Republic Conference.
The two-day conference organised by the HDP in Istanbul continues in sessions to discuss ways to bring the republic together with democracy. After mentioning the social gains of the republic’s foundation, Sancar added “It is not enough to bring legitimacy down from the sky to the earth, to cut it off from tradition and move it to the political arena for providing freedom and democracy as well.”
Sancar argued that in the history of the republic, there were efforts to transition from authoritarian modernity to democratic modernity, notedly in the establishment process, but these efforts were not successful and the defining feature of the republic in Turkey continued as a uniformist understanding.
“To pave the way for democracy, to develop the republic with democracy, and to place democracy in an unbreakable bond depends on our realistic confrontation with our fundamental problems,” he said.
“One of the most important obstacles to the republic’s failure to integrate with democracy so far is that the Kurdish question has not been resolved on a democratic, libertarian and egalitarian basis.”
HDP Co-Chair Pervin Buldan stated that they considered this conference as a new beginning, and they would continue to hold the Democratic Republic conferences with broader participation and thematic meetings.
In the first session of the conference, titled “The Republic: Accounting for the Century”, Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk said, “Kurds and Turks should meet in common democratic values,” and prominent legal expert Rıza Türmen suggested the establishment of a second Parliament, which would include units formed by the people.
Writer Murat Belge pointed out that the history of the republic was not very bright with regards to democracy, asking “How many years of your life did you spend in a democracy?”
Speaking on the Kurdish conflict as an obstacle to democracy in Turkey, former HDP MP Sırrı Süreya Önder said:
“The Kurds want to have a say and a share in the future of this country; a share of sovereignty, without violating anyone’s rights.”
The conference will continue on Sunday with more sessions.