Relief efforts to alleviate the pain of earthquake victims in Turkey led to an extraordinary moment in the country’s politics as the leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) made a joint declaration on Saturday.
Pervin Buldan, co-chair of the HDP, and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the CHP, met in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır in front of a collapsed building along with delegations of the two parties’ executives and mayors.
Buldan gave information to Kılıçdaroğlu about the building. The politician told the press that a mother and her children were saved on the sixth day of the disaster, adding that there is still hope.
“We all suffer the same pain, we are all trying to heal wounds. I want to particularly say that this government has been buried under the wreckage in this earthquake. But it is a fact that humanity came out from this wreckage. People, independent of their political opinions, religions, beliefs, have held onto each other with a spirit of solidarity,” Buldan said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also made a statement. “The earthquake has clamped the society together. We want to provide bandage to the pain. We want to be together. I believe that the pain can be alleviated when it is shared,” he said.
The politician also criticised the failure of the government in coordinating relief efforts, thanking all state employees and civil society organisations shouldering the relief work on the ground.
Both political parties feverishly oppose the country’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, years-long sentiments around the Kurdish question and the government’s efforts to criminalise any joint efforts of the HDP and the CHP have caused the two parties to prefer a distanced relationship, apart from some exceptional joint actions and meetings.