The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will not agree to the lesser evil but continues towards the party’s goals said Kurdish politician and former HDP deputy İdris Baluken, a jailed left-wing ally, in an interview with the Mezopotamya Agency.
Baluken’s comments come as Turkey’s opposition parties continue efforts to counter the ruling alliance between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) at the upcoming 2023 elections. The opposition alliance comprises of various viewpoints ranging from centre-left to right-wing/conservative groups. Meanwhile the HDP is focused on the longer term working to unite left-wing groups in a separate bloc.
The former deputy has been behind bars for more than five years, jailed following the collapse of a peace process between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Baluken had been part of the committee to visit PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in prison during the talks.
Six opposition parties have signed an accord in which on one hand they make calls for democracy and an independent judiciary, while on the other hand they regress to agreeing with the government in topics such as the lifting of parliamentary immunities. What are your comments on the state of the opposition?
The opposition appears to have trapped itself within the boundaries set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his alliance partner, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli. They appear to lack the ability and competency to be playmates. There is an insistence to avoid holding direct discussions on Turkey’s fundamental issues or to present comprehensive solutions. The opposition falls short of meeting political and societal expectations. It is impossible to say that they are forming a togetherness that could give hope and trust for the people or even among themselves, and they undermine their relationship to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). They have not eliminated their soft underbelly, or the exposed nerve endings.
They should have overcome their weaknesses long ago and presented society with a choice – “an authoritarian regime or a democratic future” – without fear, including in their relations with the HDP. They did not do that. In failing to do this, they have kept alive Erdoğan and Bahçeli’s appetite to be troublemakers and disrupters of unity.
How is the rest of the opposition’s relationship with the HDP?
Their engagement has not been able to go further than a fruitless choice between evil and the lesser evil, so to speak. The current government also engages in this practice, via the lawsuit to shut down the HDP, the unlawful operations, the appointment of government proxies, etc. It’s their choice. The HDP has enough political experience to not give in to either side. It conducts its own battles, rejecting an offer to choose the lesser evil, whatever the price for that may be. Acting together with the HDP is vital for the rest of the opposition, more so than it would be for the HDP. In any case, there is no singular entity that could dare chastise the HDP for past mistakes, or so-called crimes or sins.
We know that collective hope is not effective at resolving long standing disputes. Hope is used for focusing on a sparkling vision for the future. In that respect, we believe it is better to invite everybody to build a clean and bright future, instead of going through old accounts. You cannot sow hemlock and harvest wheat. Keeping this in mind, it would be possible to carry the country towards a democratic and peaceful future. Similarly, it would be easier to fulfil the longing for a breath of fresh air and a morsel of sustenance.
Apart from this, it is imperative for the HDP to exhibit trust, hope and courage for the whole of society to be at ease. Currently placed between two entities who don’t go beyond a promise of darkness, HDP could shine bright as the northern star, if only it acted confidently and paid attention to gaining respect from all sections of society, rather than looking to ballot box calculations.
Some 90 percent of society has been victimised and oppressed in one way or another. Considering that we pride ourselves on being a party for the oppressed, the HDP has great potential to reach its goals. The HDP can best implement its potential if it aims to build a self-administering, participatory and inclusive democratic model for all of society, without a primary desire for power.
What are your comments on Newroz?
The month of March contains a rich past for our people and all of humanity. I would first like to celebrate International Women’s Day. I respectfully commemorate all women who fought and lost their lives for women, and for the values of freedom women hold. I send my greetings, respect and love to all women who continue any fight anywhere in the world. Every day we learn about new femicides with great sorrow and fury. I condemn all violence against women, all discrimination, and all othering attitudes. I condemn the massacres carried out by male supremacist mentalities.
All wars that devastated, pillaged, and destroyed life, nature, and the world itself have been created by men. Men destroyed the past; women will save the future. Men enslaved humanity, and women will liberate it, if not today, then in the future. The fate of a free world lies at the hands of free women. I hope it will be swift.
March is also a month of massacres and devastation for our people and all oppressed peoples of the world, starting with the Halabja Massacre. We know that great struggles, epic resistance, and an indomitable will, have been written in history this month. I celebrate the festival of peace and freedom, the spring herald, and the fraternity of peoples coming together to fight tyranny. I remember with respect all lives lost to massacres in this month, including the Newroz massacre in 1992 and the Halajba Massacre in 1988. I wish for a free and peaceful future where human values are not trampled.