The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has announced its strategic objectives and criteria for supporting a presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.
In the declaration ‘for democracy, justice and peace’, made in Turkey’s capital Ankara, the party’s co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar indicated that they aimed to change the current presidential system which they saw as the origin of the ongoing multi-faceted crisis.
Underlining that the HDP would determine its stance for supporting a candidate in the upcoming elections based on principles rather than names, the co-chairs announced the party’s main principles.
1. Transition to a democratic parliamentary system with effective checks and balances in place
‘We believe that Turkey’s fundamental need is to achieve a strong democracy based on the principles of participation, negotiation and democratic consensus, where universal fundamental rights and freedoms are ensured in the widest way possible. Within this framework, we envision a democratic parliamentary system that warrants a pluralistic parliament with broad authorities, ensures the separation of powers, and implements an effective system of checks and balances,” it’s said, adding that ‘a strong democracy also requires an understanding of subsidiarity and local government.’
2. Establishment of a fair, unbiased, independent justice system
‘The Judiciary is under the tutelage of the Executive. The understanding in power has destroyed justice in every sense by redesigning politics and the society through the judiciary while turning the judiciary into an instrument to liquidate the opposition. That is why all politically motivated trials, convictions and their consequences should be rescinded as a necessity towards restoring justice and social peace. To address injustices and right the wrongs, it is also an urgent need to comply with the decisions and recommendations of international institutions, first and foremost those of the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), regarding rights violations, unlawful prison conditions, solitary confinement, and the like.”
3. Making regulations to dispose with the antidemocratic practice of replacing elected officials with government-appointed trustees
‘Legal amendments must be introduced as a matter of urgency to put an end to the regime of trustees which has permeated many institutions from local authorities and universities and civil society organizations, violates the right to elect and be elected, usurps the will of the people, disregards the electoral justice. Steps must also be taken to redress the damage inflicted by this regime and the rights of the victims of the trusteeship must be restored.’
4. A democratic resolution of the Kurdish Question
‘Instead of policies of denial and repression, steps for a democratic and peaceful resolution must be taken. The Parliament should lay the foundations for dialogue and resolution and by utilizing democratic negotiation methods it should facilitate and be the focus of efforts to win over the future for the society at large.’
5. Implementation of a peaceful foreign policy
‘It is to the benefit of us all to move away from adventurous policies that are based on war and conflict, and the show of military might with other countries, most importantly with our neighbours. Instead, we need to pursue a strong and principled diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful policies based on improved relations in every field.’
6. Implementation of policies for the enhancement of women’s equality and freedom
‘Rights pertaining to gender equality and freedom for women should be assured in every way possible and to achieve equality in representation the practice of co-chairship should be disseminated further. At the same time, it is a necessity to fight against systematic male violence towards women and femicides. Re-enacting the Istanbul Convention and implementing it fully, eliminating political, administrative, economic and cultural barriers in front of gender equality are among the urgent first steps that need to be taken.’
7. Supporting economic justice
‘Improving the living conditions of pensioners, relieving the debt of farmers accrued due to wrongful policies, supporting tradespeople whose grievances have been tremendously aggravated during the pandemic are some of the first steps that need to be taken. It is also imperative to implement policies to eradicate women’s poverty and to ensure their active participation in the workforce. Unionization, collective bargaining and the right to strike must also be ensured in line with universal standards.’
8. Adopting a policy of recruitment in public services based on merit and competence
‘Public administration should not be the domain of recruitment for cronies under the monopoly of the ruling bloc. Grievances of those expelled from public duty due to political motives and decree-laws should be redressed, all sorts of discrimination in public recruitment and appointments should be stopped and merit should be made the only basis.’
9. Prevention of ecological destruction
‘Energy, transportation, urbanization and agriculture-related policies should be based on a nature rights-focused approach. Every living being’s right to survival within a healthy ecosystem should be ensured through effective policy making. Forest fires, floods can only be stopped thus.’
10. Freedom for the youth
‘The life preferences of the young should be respected, they should be able to express themselves and live freely. To ensure this, all barriers in economic, social and political domains should be eradicated with a special focus on education and culture.’
11. A democratic constitution
‘A civilian, libertarian and new constitution, a social contract in the true sense of the word will be the harbinger of a new beginning and the crowning achievement of democratization in Turkey. This constitution should be based on equal citizenship with respect towards different cultures, identities, faiths and native languages, ways of life and a secular way of life. Drafting of the constitution should include all segments of the society and should be executed with a method that is based on democratic participation and social negotiation.’
The declaration ends with the commitment that the HDP is ready to communicate, negotiate, cooperate and share administrative powers with all political parties who are in favour of the announced principles.