Kurdish anarchist on why there were such high hopes in HDP in June 7 elections in Turkey


Turkey goes to the polls June 7th and for the first time it looks like a radical left party, the HDP may get enough votes to claim seats in parliament. In the last couple of weeks of the campaign at least two HDP officers have been bombed, the driver of a HDP election vehicle was shot dead and unknown numbers of its activists have been arrested by the Turkish state.

Why is the Turkish state and the ruling AKP party so threatened by the HDP? The HDP presents itself as anti-capitalist and aspires to end religious, gender and racial discrimination. It has a 50% quota for women and a 10% quota for the LGBT community when fielding candidates. It's an expression of the movement coming out of Gezi park but also of the new ideology of the PKK and despite the peace process any manifestation related to the PKK continues to be repressed by the Turkish state.

Zaher Baher of the London based Kurdistan Anarchists Forum recently returned from a trip to Kurdistan where he met many HDP activists and wrote the report below explaining why how well the HDP does in the June 7 elections may be of considerable importance.

The anarchists we have talked to in Turkey have expressed similar opinions, indeed we know some have even joined the HDP, a very unusual step given the traditional anarchist rejection of electoralism. The few occasions where anarchists have put that opposition aside have been where an elections has in effect also been a referendum with enormous outcomes. Examples include the South Africa and Nigerian elections of the early 1990s that were in effect also referendums on Apartheid and ending the military dictatorship respectively. Or more locally the 1981 elections when votes were sought for H-Block candidates during the Hunger Strikes in which 10 republican prisoners were to die.

The HDP has no chance of getting enough votes to form a government and in that context the size of the vote the HDP receives is seen as important to prevent Erdogan's AKP government having a big enough majority to impose a new constitution. And on the other hand of providing an enormous push for a real peace process for Kurdistan.

Zaher Baher writes "Turkey is facing an important election. It is historical, not just for the Kurds but the rest of Turkey. If president Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) win, they will be able implement their hidden Islamic Democratic agenda. The human rights will suffer, the police oppression will increase, the prisons will be full of activists, the rights of individuals, women, ethnic minorities, and other religious almost will be disappeared and also will be a big setback for the peace process.

On the other hand If Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) passes the 10 % election threshold then AKP could be stopped from implementing its inhuman agenda. The HDP manifesto is very radical; even if only 50% of it is implemented Turkey’s Constitution could be reformed unless the military Generals take over.

I met many people in Amed, Van, Colemerg and Gaver. Everybody was busy with election campaign for HDP. Everybody from candidates, the campaigners and the ordinary people who I asked believe that the election of this time is a major event and anxiously look forward to seeing the result of 07/06.

Their reasons for that are the following which is very difficult not to agree with them:
• This is the first time that the Kurdish people enter the election having a political party, HDP. Previously individual Kurdish allowed taking a part in election as independent it is also the first time many non-Kurds are united with Kurds inside HDP and share its radical manifesto that reflecting and protecting the same interest of whole parties.

• It is quite clear that the AKP is not interested in a serious peace process with the Kurdish people. Erdogan has not taken a big practical step towards this goal. In fact AKP has been forced to agree to the peace process. Erdogan and his party are calculating that HDP does not get through the 10% threshold and does not become a major force in the Parliament to push the peace process seriously. So that wining this election will be a major achievement almost for everybody in Turkey.

• The HDP manifesto is strongly connected to the life of Kurdish and non-Kurdish people. It is a political, economical, educational, cultural as well as social manifesto. It aims at the equality between men and women, at reducing poverty, unemployment, homelessness and the power of the corporations. It deals with recognising Rojava’s Cantons, the Cyprus issue, tackling discrimination, recognising the right of the individuals, different cultures and different religions.

• To rebuild Kobane, humanitarian aid and materials have to enter through Syria or Turkey. So that reconstruction of Kobane whether thorough the big corporations or through the international solidarity, has to be through Turkey. At present Turkey only allows humanitarian aid and winning the election is extremely important for rebuilding Kobane.

Because of the above reasons there is no doubt that the Turkey election of 7th of June has got its own speciality that very much different from any other election in many countries."

You can read Zaher's full report at http://libcom.org/forums/middle-east/we-should-not-let-kobane-rest-rojav...

8th June post election update

In what perhaps should have been an expected side effect of the defeat of the AKP in Turkey's election yesterday the stock of the company that makes the police water cannon trucks has crashed 10%.

Hurriyet Daily News reports that
"Since its IPO in 2010, the İzmir-based company’s stock prices have seen steep hikes each time it won public tenders to produce new TOMAs.

In October 2014, Katmerciler saw its operating profits skyrocket by 229 percent, up to 7 million Turkish Liras from 2.1 million, with the Turkish government’s purchase of scores of new TOMAs. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had said the government “would buy 10 new TOMAs for each one destroyed” by ongoing street protests in the country."

Before pointing out that the company was owned by a former AKP deputy, İsmail Katmerci. TOMA's have been responsible for both deaths and serious injuries in the repression of protests in Turkey.

You can read Zaher's full report at http://libcom.org/forums/middle-east/we-should-not-let-kobane-rest-rojav...

WORDS: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )