Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party pledged to strengthen the multicultural city of Istanbul, representing the diverse communities and interests within the city, ahead of the country’s local 31 March elections.
At a public gathering on Monday organised by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) in Istanbul, Turkey, Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları highlighted the historical and cultural significance of the city and equated the pivotal role of the electorate to that of the Kurdish regions.
Gonca Yangöz, the co-chair of the DEM Party’s Istanbul branch, emphasised the party’s commitment to peace in opposition to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which they said thrived on conflict.
Murat Kalmaz, another co-chair, highlighted the ongoing Great Freedom March, stressing its historical significance and the widespread support it has garnered among the Kurdish population. The march calls for the physical freedom of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and is seen as a critical step towards resolving the Kurdish issue.
Hatimoğulları’s address covered various topics, including the party’s commitment to organised struggle for the Kurdish cause, the importance of resolving the Kurdish issue for broader democratic advancements in Turkey, and the party’s vision for an ecological, democratic and women-liberating approach to local governance.
She underlined the unique position of DEM Party in advocating for women’s rights and highlighted the upcoming ‘Democracy and Freedom Rally’ set for 24 February in Istanbul.
The co-chair also announced the party’s candidacy for Istanbul, again stressing the city’s crucial role due to its diverse population and historical significance.
Hatimoğulları concluded her speech by reiterating the party’s pledge to challenge the prevailing system of ‘patronage and corruption’, promising a significant transformation in Istanbul’s governance under DEM Party leadership.