Mesopotamia News Agency interviewed the executives of the previous pro-Kurdish parties and asked about their opinions regarding the case of the HDP.
If closed, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will not be the first pro-Kurdish party that has been shut down in the political history of Turkey.
The fate of pro-Kurdish parties is recurring since the first pro-Kurdish party enters the parliament in the early 1990s.
The Democracy Party (DEP) was a pro-Kurdish political party in Turkey founded on 7 May 1993. The party was banned in 1994 and some of its deputies were imprisoned. Hatip Dicle was the Chair of the Democracy Party (DEP) and thinks Turkey’s politics regarding the Kurdish question has not changed so far.
“The closure filed against the HDP shows that the attitude of Turkey towards Kurds and people who demand democracy has not changed in the 27 years,” Dicle said.
‘Closing pro-Kurdish parties have never silenced Kurds’
“Similar to today’s developments, our party was closed and the membership of parliamentarians were stripped,” noted Dicle and pointed out that Celal Adan, Deputy Chairman of the Nationalist People’s Party (MHP) who read the decision regarding Gergerlioğlu’s membership yesterday, was a political figure who was active during their period as well.
“He was the deputy of the True Path Party (DYP) and was an important member of the Tansu Çiller and Doğan Güreş alliance in the years 93-94. 17 thousand unsolved murders were committed under their ruling and 4,500 villages are burned in Kurdistan,” Dicle stated.
Dicle also said that even though Turkey repeatedly shut down pro-Kurdish parties, they have never been able to “silence Kurds and stop them from resisting. They will not succeed this time as well. Our roots are strong. We are the continuation of a 30-year tradition. The HDP is based on this tradition.”
‘It’s name, emblem, place can change, but the party continues itself’
Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) is another pro-Kurdish party that was founded in 1997. It was the continuation of the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP), which was banned in March 2003 by the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it supported the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). In November 2005 it announced that it had dissolved itself due to political pressure against them and all the party members joined the Democratic Society Party (DTP).
Tuncer Bakırhan, who was the Chairman of DEHAP at that time and is currently the HDP Deputy Co-Chairperson said, “Political parties are founded out of the need of a society. In other words, as long as that need remains, the party will continue itself even though its name, place and emblem changes.”
Shutting down the political parties is never a democratic solution to deal with differences, Bakırhan noted. “They can close the parties, but new parties are founded instead. The supporters do not go anywhere. In fact, that pressure creates public outrage and brings people more close to each other,” he said.
‘End of democracy’
People’s Democracy Party’s (HADEP)’s fate was similar to other pro-Kurdish Parties. On 13 March 2003, the President of the Constitutional Court (AYM) Mustafa Mumin announced that it was closed unanimously.
HADEP Secretary-General Hamit Geylani who witnessed this history defined the closing of a political party as the “end of democracy”.
“I have served in every position in all parties since HEP. Each time they closed our party, our people resisted more. For the last 40 years they have tried to prevent Kurds from conducting democratic politics, but they could not do so. The ones who are responsible for this decision will lose. This shows that there is no democracy, peace, human rights, and freedom in Turkey,” Geylani said.