Former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has written an open letter to Good Party (İYİP) leader Meral Akşener, expressing his concerns about Akşener’s approach towards the HDP, particularly in relation to the forthcoming presidential elections.
Demirtaş, who is currently imprisoned in Edirne Prison, began his letter by wishing Akşener and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance, all the best and success in the upcoming elections. However, he then went on to criticise Akşener for her treatment of the HDP, suggesting that her statements and approaches towards the party were not suitable for the purpose of promoting unity and hope.
Demirtaş questioned why the HDP did not have the right to negotiations, despite them being conducted by other parties within the Nation Alliance. He also asked Akşener whether she wanted his vote as an HDP voter, and how she intended to convince him given that his vote would help her party to assume several ministerial posts. Demirtaş also highlighted comments made by some of Akşener’s colleagues, who had previously stated that they would not give a ministry to the HDP.
Akşener had appeared to dismiss the possibility of the HDP being given ministerial posts, stating that it was not possible to bargain over something like a ministry. However, she did suggest that dialogue between the HDP and the CHP, the largest opposition party in Turkey, was possible.
The HDP has welcomed the prospect of dialogue with the CHP and has expressed a desire for compromise with the opposition’s joint candidate. HDP co-Chair Mithat Sancar has invited Kılıçdaroğlu to the party’s headquarters to discuss these issues further.
The coming elections in Turkey are set to be historic, with the Nation Alliance, a coalition of opposition parties, hoping to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). However, the HDP’s participation in the alliance has been a point of controversy, with some parties refusing to work with the HDP due to allegations that it is linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The HDP has repeatedly denied these allegations and has called for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue. The party has also called for greater rights for all minority groups in Turkey and for an end to authoritarianism and oppression.
Here are highlights from Demirtaş’ letter:
Mrs. Akşener, I am writing this letter as an HDP voter. Together with Mr Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance, you have undertaken a challenging task in a historic period as the leaders of the parties in the Nation Alliance and two mayors. First of all, I wish you all the best and wish you success.
While a large part of the society is trying to raise hope with the slogans ‘by uniting we will win’ before this historic election, I think that some of your statements and approaches towards our party HDP are not suitable for this purpose.
As an HDP voter, I find it necessary to clarify some issues in order to understand you better.
As a part of the Millet Alliance, you have conducted negotiations even with the parties in your own alliance. Why is the politics of negotiation, which is a right for you, not a right for the HDP?
I am sure that you do not see HDP voters as second class citizens, as citizens without a will. In that case, what is wrong with the HDP negotiating with the presidential candidate it will vote for?
Moreover, as the HDP has repeatedly announced, the topics for negotiations are the 11-point position document announced by the HDP in September 2021, and they are a secret.
If the HDP decides to support the HDP, Mr Kılıçdaroğlu will most likely become President and you will become Vice President. In addition, your party will assume several ministerial posts.
I need to ask openly:
1- Do you want my vote as an HDP voter? How do you intend to convince me since you will sit in the vice-presidential and ministerial seats with my vote? By the way, I remind you that you did not say ‘I don’t want’ for the HDP votes that enabled the mayors of the Nation Alliance to win in the local elections.
2- Although HDP did not request a ministry, some of your friends hurt and marginalised us, HDP voters, by saying ‘We will not give a ministry to HDP.’ Now, if these friends of yours are candidates for ministerial seats with the votes of HDP voters, shouldn’t you convince us?
3- Although HDP declared that it does not make any demands other than democratic principles, you said ‘CHP can establish dialogue with HDP, but no concessions can be made and their demands cannot be brought to this table.’ Do you see the demands for democratisation as concessions?
If you come to power and the demands of the HDP will not come to your table, which table do you propose to us? Do you intend to direct us to the ‘counter-terror table’ again, as it has been done for fifty years?
4- HDP and its voters will never accept any superior, imposing, dominant approach except for a negotiation between equals, at shoulder level.
We do not adopt any method other than solving our problems in the field of democratic politics, in peace, by talking in a modern way. Is there any other method you suggest?