The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has the strength to “stand against any difficulties and render void all plots by the government” in the run-up to Turkey’s forthcoming elections, party co-chair Mithat Sancar said on Monday.
Sancar’s comments in the HDP’s weekly parliamentary group meeting follow debates on whether the party should put up a presidential candidate separate from that of the Nation Alliance led by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), amid fears of the opposition vote being divided, as the Nation Alliance will need Kurdish votes to achieve the required majority. The HDP co-chair also spoke about the court case aiming at the closure of the party.
The elections come in an atmosphere “of challenge, but also of hope”, Sancar said, adding that the HDP is “ready for the elections in every way.”
The elections, which will be held on 14 May if the Supreme Electoral Board acts in line with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s announcement, will be a vote on whether to continue with the current regime, Sancar said. In a 2017 referendum, Turkey abandoned its parliamentary system in favour of an executive presidential system. Erdoğan, who was first elected president in 2014, is now nearing the end of his second term in the new system and is seeking a third.
Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) seeks to utilise, for the elections, the state security apparatus, which appears to have connections with criminal gangs, exploitation and corruption in general, Sancar continued.
The elections are “a matter of life and death for the AKP”, Sancar said, adding that the AKP’s aim was to achieve results via war, pillaging, and mafia rule.
“The government thinks they can break HDP’s wings but our wings are our people. Our wings are the Labour and Freedom Alliance, the democratic circles we cooperate with, and our people-friendly and community-friendly policies,” Sancar said, referring to an alliance of left-leaning parties, of which HDP is the main party. This despite all efforts by the government to obstruct the party’s activities.
“[The government] are preparing with fear, we are preparing with courage and hope,” Sancar said.