The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has denied reports in the media of a party decision to nominate jailed politician Gültan Kışanak as a presidential candidate in Turkey’s forthcoming presidential elections, Artı Gerçek reported on Sunday.
Kışanak, a former MP and also a former mayor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed), is among HDP members thought to be potential presidential candidates, an unnamed senior party official told Artı Gerçek.
“Many names are under discussion. There are many people we have not approached on the subject yet, including Ms Gültan,” Artı Gerçek quoted its source in the HDP as saying, after a Saturday meeting of the party’s executive board.
İsmail Saymaz, a journalist with Halk TV, a media outlet known to have close ties to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Saturday reported that the HDP was planning to nominate Kışanak as a presidential candidate.
Kışanak has been in prison since 2016, and has been a defendant in two trials, but there is currently no ratified conviction prohibiting her candidacy.
Also discussed yesterday at the HDP executive meeting was a motion submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to amend three articles of the Turkish Constitution, according to Artı Gerçek’s HDP source.
The pro-Kurdish party has not yet made a final decision on the proposed changes, but has established principles regarding them. Their inclination is to oppose the proposed changes, but they will ask the opinions of relevant institutions and organisations before making a final decision, the source added.
The AKP’s proposal includes an amendment of Article 24 of the Constitution that will further protect the rights of women wearing Islamic hijab, as well as changes in two articles presented by the ruling party as a step to protect the family against “perversions”, which basically means placing a Constitutional barricade before any demands for gay marriage.
Gay marriage is banned in Turkey, but when asked earlier this month why the AKP needed a Constitutional amendment on the issue, the party’s parliamentary group leader Özlem Zengin told reporters that her party believed that a Constitutional guarantee was also necessary.
Zengin this week said that in order to ensure the 400 votes required for Constitutional amendments to be approved without a referendum, AKP officials would organise another round of visits to other political parties, including the HDP, before the motion is discussed in parliament.
Aiming to secure the support of the HDP, the third largest party in the parliament, an AKP official visited the leaders of its parliamentary group in November, ending an unspoken embargo imposed on the pro-Kurdish party since June 2021, when the country’s Constitutional Court accepted an indictment seeking the closure of the HDP.
“This is not an issue we can approve in essence because we favour a democratic and liberal constitution,” Artı Gerçek quoted the HDP party official as saying. The same official also said that the majority of the party’s senior members saw the motion as an election ploy and did not want to be a part of it.