by Akın Olgun
The Turkish state once again tests its power over the Kurdish political movement and its willpower. The killings, the injustice and the violence organized by the hands of the state aim both at the pacification of the will of the Kurds by encircling their achievements and the transformation of all areas of struggle into a prison.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has been the target of the rulers as they strive to make it the victim of all their dead-ends, because the HDP represents not only the power standing against the anti-democratic system they have built, but also the litmus paper which reveals the chauvinist orbit of politics in Turkey.
Targeted by nationalist, chauvinist politics, the HDP already showed in the previous local elections that it is not a small fish and for this, it has attracted the hatred of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ruling coalition once again, which veils political and economic depression with its racist politics.
The crisis of being unable to govern gets deeper as the AKP tries to open up each problematic area with the help of violence and tries to legitimize everything it does using the demagogy of ‘terrorism’. As the crisis gets deeper, the ‘stick’ of aggression is introduced more and more in all spheres of life and politics in order to disperse the opposition.
The AKP chooses to behave as if there is something called ‘democracy’ and that all channels of democratic politics are open. That is a game that the AKP chooses to play: the main opposition also gives consent to this and many circles in society put up with this.
The game is about to be spoiled
Not because they do not want to play, but because they have no playground anymore, the power that has accumulated around those representing ruling power and the main opposition does not balance each other out anymore. On the contrary, these powers run counter to each other. The energy, the rage and the demand for change remains at one pole whilst the government, which declares that it can do whatever it takes to maintain its power, remains at the other.
Everybody dares each other to cross traditional lines for the first time and the cards are open on the gaming table in this political environment.
For the first time, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has drawn his sword and has begun to attack his rival.
He may be trying to open deeper wounds and make his rival bleed more and show its incapacity, in order to detach interest groups that previously clung to that power. This may be the intention rather than an attempt to make his rival more furious and make mistakes. The internal and external politicking taking place will reveal how successful he will be in this sword fight.
Kılıçdaroğlu sent a message to the investment groups who encircle the AKP for their own benefit and keep the AKP on its feet, when he declared that he will expropriate the five corporations, known both as the ‘Gang of Five’ and the ‘vault of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’, which have been taking all the tender offers of the state. “Choose your side”, was the message of the leader of the main opposition to the investment groups, who are in a quandary about the future of the government, struggling with a political and an economic crisis.
Turkey is about to make a turn from such a sharp bend that it is not quite clear who will be able continue on their way afterwards and who will not. There is a deep cliff lying round that bend.
It is almost impossible for the main opposition party to take that turn or to continue on its way without the support of the Kurdish movement. Since the government is aware of that, it targets the HDP on an extreme level, in so doing, targeting Kurdish politics and the democratic forces of Turkey. The HDP tries to endure the pressure and stand strong whilst the state tries to mobilize all its forces to criminalize the HDP and to make it HDP unable to act.
Approximately 7,000 members and a significant cadre of the party as well as its elected mayors and MP’s have been imprisoned. The attacks, known as ‘political slaughter’, continue without slowing down. Each morning, Turkey wakes up to a new wave of predictable operations.
The HDP stands in such a position that it represents the most significant, decisive factor in the politics of Turkey. There will be obstacles for those who advance with or without the HDP. However, everyone knows that there can be no change without the HDP.
The support of the HDP voters for the candidates of the opposition, following an appeal from the imprisoned Selahattin Demirtaş, caused ‘the power’ to lose the Turkish metropolises in the local elections – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has never forgotten this, of course. The HDP voters have a high political sensibility and stand with their party. Such a stance spoils the game of the rulers whilst it brings forward the mission of the HDP as the quarterback.
There are only bullying tactics now that try to create obstacles to vote for the HDP or that explore the option of closing down the HDP, the result of which cannot be foreseen by the power. It is possible to say that they are not intimidated by the act of closing down the HDP, but may be intimidated by how that act might reflect in the ballots.
On the other hand, the AKP is also worried about how its own grass-roots might react to them in the ballots. One must recall that when the AKP lost the İstanbul Municipality in the local elections, it forced a re-election, yet the gap between the votes in that election increased to such a level that it could be counted in the hundreds of thousands.
The votes that shifted from the AKP grass-roots to the candidate of the opposition was shocking for the power: the gap rose to 800,000. When the AKP lost the local election, the crisis of being unable to govern came to the fore. Losing in the local elections and having its weaknesses exposed has contributed to the crises it faces today.
In view of the fact that Turkey is faced with a power that has shown that it can do whatever it takes to remain in power and has ensanguined the country, no one in Turkey knows what will happen as it approaches the sharp bend. All political analyses remain uncertain as to the outcome.
It appears that it will be the hand of the Kurds that will once again pull society in Turkey out of its darkness. For the HDP and the democratic forces in the country, there is always the risk that they will be stabbed in the back by the dagger of Turkish politics. But they are aware that it is not possible to survive without watching their backs and walking along their chosen path, taking all the risks. Maybe they always remain strong because of this.