Tag Archives: HDP

Arrest of HDP leaders fuels vicious cycle of violence

The controversial arrest of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdagalong along with ten other MPs for alleged links to terrorism ramped up an already tense climate in the predominantly Kurdish south east.

These arrests, as part of a greater crackdown on dissidents and opposition forces in the aftermath of the failed July coup in Turkey under a state of emergency, places a fresh cloud over Turkey while threatening further polarization and fuelling the vicious cycle of violence.

When the Turkish parliament voted to lift the immunity of MPs from prosecution in May, the HDP were key targets of this bill and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made no secret of this. In an apparent reference to the HDP, Erdogan stated “my nation does not want to see guilty lawmakers in this country’s parliament. Above all, it does not want to see those supported by the separatist terror group in parliament.”

With the arrest of HDP MPs, Erdogan has followed up his tough rhetoric with firm action. However, the notion of “guilty” under the framework of punitive terror laws in Turkey is always bound to stir tension.

Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have frequently accused the HDP of been an extension of the PKK, a claim that they have denied.

Demirtas stated after his arrest “in these days where our country is pushed further into darkness, our illegal arrest only served to intensify the darkness.” The HDP announced a boycott of parliament in response to the arrests.

The HDP is not just a small party. It made history by becoming the first Kurdish party to break the 10% parliamentary threshold, and with 59 seats, it is the third largest bloc.

The HDP is not the first Kurdish group to suffer under shadows of the PKK. Many Kurdish parties have been closed for alleged links to the PKK.

But with strong support amongst Kurds, accusing HDP of been an arm of a terrorist group is akin to charging millions of their voters of been terrorists.

The aged—old Kurdish question remains a sensitive topic and too often Kurdish nationalism is intertwined with supporting the PKK. It has been almost impossible for pro-Kurds not to be labelled as separatists or inciting terrorism.

However, such views only serve to strengthen the polarization of the country. The millions of Kurds need a way between the PKK, whom clearly not all Kurds support and harsh government policies.

The HDP could have been a bridge, and as witnessed with its widespread support, many had hoped that the HDP could herald a new era for Kurdish politics in Turkey.

The Kurdish issue needed a political stage in a state of peace. HDP was a vital interlocutor at the height of the peace talks. Though it seemed closer than ever before, the ceasefire collapsed, and violence resumed in 2015.

The end of the ceasefire helped AKP to garner nationalist voters and ultimately helped the AKP win a majority at the snap elections. At the same time, it benefited those in the PKK who did not favor disarmament.

Now these arrest threatens more violence and closes the political platform for Kurds.

Similar moves to remove immunity in the 1990s did not pacify security fears in Turkey led to some of the worst violence at the time.

These latest arrests may strengthen Erdogan’s hands. Firstly, it dilutes opposition voices in parliament with a likely vote on adoption of a presidential system. Secondly, if the HDP fails to achieve 10% threshold in the future, the AKP may secure more seats.

As the snap elections proved, the PKK is a ubiquitous noose around the HDP. As the violence resumed, the HDP lost many seats in parliament compared to their June electing fairing. AKP strives to deal the HDP a further political blow.

The PKK may retaliate to these arrests with an escalation of violence, which will embolden hawks in Ankara and justify the need for strict security and terror laws leading to a continued deadlock.

The European Union and the United States expressed their concern over the arrests. Martin Schulz, European Parliament President, expressed that the arrests “call into question the basis for the sustainable relationship between the EU and Turkey.”

However, Turkish leaders hit back at the criticism. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim vowed that “politics can’t be a shield for committing crimes”, whilst Erdogan brushed off the criticism and accused the EU of “abetting terrorism.”

As the middle ground and diplomatic channels seems to fade in Turkey, the vicious cycle of bloodshed over the last 3 decades that has benefited no side and produced no clear victor will merely.

First Published: Kurdistan 24

Lifting of MPs immunity from prosecution fuel for new social earthquake in Turkey

This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ratified a bill lifting MPs’ immunity from prosecution. Although, it is a move that affects all opposition parties, it no doubt bites the Kurdish-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) the hardest with 55 out of 59 of their elected parliamentarians facing a summary of proceedings.

The billed was signed on June 7th, exactly a year to the date of the first Turkish general election of 2015 that saw HDP shatter the 10% threshold and make history by becoming the first Kurdish party to enter parliament. HDP and its leader Selahattin Demirtas become a thorn in the side of Erdogan. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to attain the majority it craved in parliament thus undermining their open quest to implement a presidential system.

However, the cease-fire with the PKK was soon shattered and a level of deadly violence and bloodshed returned akin to the dark days of the 90’s.

Erdogan has always tried to label the HDP as the political front of the PKK and such indictment along with the resumption of violence saw the HDP lose votes in the subsequent snap election.

It is conveniently forgotten that the HDP did not just decide to turn up in parliament. It was through the support of the hundreds of thousands of voters. To claim that 59 members of HDP have links to terrorism is tantamount to claiming that all their voters are also terrorists.

And this is where the vicious cycle of violence continues in the Kurdish southeast. Is the Kurdish issue merely a terrorism problem and therefore about wiping out the militants from the mountains as Ankara officials claim or is it about a much deeper issue of Kurdish rights?

If the root of the issue is not addressed, then no matter how many more decades the war against the PKK continues or how many more Kurdish MPs are imprisoned, then we would merely see history repeating itself over and over again.

If any of the HDP PM’s are imprisoned or if the HDP is disbanded under the terrorism banner, as the case with many other Kurdish parties beforehand, then there is little doubt that violence will only intensify.

A strong Kurdish party in parliament for the first time in history should have been the platform for long-term peace. The Kurds finally had a voice in parliament and the HDP were the natural interlocutors in the peace process.

With this voice gone and with the Kurds witnessing the little rewards of a political platform, youth will turn increasingly to violent means with the polarization of the country hitting new heights.

Officials in the European Union and the United States may have condemned the move to lift parliamentary immunity but still the voices are relatively muted. The US needs Turkey in the fight against the Islamic State and the EU continues to rely heavily on Turkey to stem the flow of migrants, even if all the conditions of the recent migrant deal have not been met by Turkey.

One of those contentious issues was Turkey’s failure to comply with EU demands to narrow anti-terror laws. And it is such laws that have crippled the Kurdish issue beyond the narrow-angled fight against the PKK.

It has long been said that Turkey’s road to the EU membership runs through Diyarbakir. At the moment, with a lack of institutional stability not to mention the right constitutional and democratic order, that road firmly remains to be paved.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

Erdogan’s presidential system already on show as Davutoglu stands down

To say that Turkey is passing through a sensitive juncture is a big understatement. A rekindled and bloody war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the ever-present threat of the Islamic State (IS), millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war and a headache posed by growing Syrian Kurdish autonomy is underlined by political uncertainty.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) may have attained the majority it craves at the poll but only at the second time of asking with the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) breaking the 10% threshold to enter parliament on each occasion.

However, as much as polls revealed strong support for the AKP, it also underlined growing polarization between those who firmly support the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and those keen to derail his desire to implement a presidential system.

Continuous crackdown on dissidents and opposition voices under the terrorism banner blur the lines yet further. Erdogan is at the forefront of moves to change legislation to strip HDP politicians of parliamentary immunity.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been at Erdogan’s side throughout the rise of the AKP over the past 14 years. However, running as a foreign policy advisor and then Foreign Minister is very much different to that of Prime Minister.

In theory power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister and not the President in Turkey. The president is meant to distance himself from the any particular party. But Erdogan has not kept his ambitions of a strong presidential system or rewriting of the Turkish constitution a secret whilst retaining a strong influence over the AKP. In other words, the current system has a presidential overtone in all but name.

If there was any semblance of unity within the AKP or a party wide endorsement of Erdogan’s policies or goals, then this was shattered by the announcement of Davutoglu that he will be standing down later this month.

Resignations simply don’t just come of nothing and a central point of contention is likely to be a grapple of power between Erdogan and Davutoglu.

Turkey has become accustomed to quelling dissident voices and it just so happened that one of those voices was the Prime Minister himself.

If there was any doubt as to who was in charge then this has now vanished. Erdogan has already insisted that that there is no turning back on plans to implement a presidential system.

Erdogan’s tough stance was on fully display as migrant deal with the EU was on the brink of collapse. “We’ll go our way, you go yours” Erdogan exclaimed at any notion that EU could pressurize Turkey to taper down its broad anti-terrorism laws.

Davutoglu on the other hand was the central architect of the migrant deal and viewed by the EU as a more constructive and balanced figure. The official line would be that agreements are negotiated with states and governments, not individuals, but the EU are clearly weary of a tough and unwavering Erdogan calling the shots.

Erdogan has proven to be a strong and resilient leader who refuses to be pushed around by the EU or the United States.

Even if Erdogan gets his way and brings about a strong presidential system, this doesn’t equate to peace, national harmony or stability.

For one, Erdogan’s continued tough line on the PKK, HDP and any sense of Kurdish nationalism will ensure that the doors to any peace process will remain firmly shut and violence rages on.

It doesn’t mean that Erdogan will be unpopular, it just means that the camps of unpopularity will be just as strong and determined, creating a deadly split that will divide and paralyze Turkey at home and abroad.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

AKP’s sweep to power in Turkey raises more questions than answers

As the Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept to a single-party majority for the fourth time since 2002, this was much to the surprise of many.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP won 316 seats in parliament in stark contracts to June elections.

The snap elections would afford a second chance to make amends and coalition talks were always going to collapse. It was merely months between the elections but many key events transformed the picture on the ground.

Erdogan argued that only the AKP could provide elusive stability at a time of increasing security threats and chaos and the people were seemingly swayed by this stance.

Turkey witnessed deadly Islamic State (IS) inspired bomb attacks, joined the war against IS, saw media raids on opposition media outlets linked to Fethullah Gulen but above all it was the restart of the war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that changed the dynamic.

Without a doubt, the rise of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) led by Selahattin Demirtaş, gaining 13% of the vote in the June elections that directly led to AKP’s loss of the parliamentary majority.

The renewed violence with the PKK, which resulted in deepening unrest in the south-east, curfews and dozens of tit-for-tat killings, become a noose to tie around the HDP.

And it’s no coincidence that the AKP took significant votes from the HDP, who crucially still surpassed the 10% threshold to enter parliament, and also the anti-Kurdish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Ultimately, it was the millions of undecided voters that transformed the electoral landscape, opting for stability of a single-party rule against fragile coalition governments that have traditional failed in Turkey, amidst new regional sandstorms.

Erdogan used the security chaos to good affect but once the dust settles what kind of Turkey will be left?

First of all, for all of AKP’s significant support, the other 50% or so are deeply against them. With media raids before and after the elections setting a marker for dealing with Gulen-backed opposition, Erdogan is in no mood to relinquish his quest to eradicate the “parallel state” that he firmly believes is undermining government.

Secondly, Erdogan promised to continue the campaign against the PKK until the organization was “eliminated”.

Finally, Erdogan has made no secret of his desire to change the constitution to afford the presidency the power he craves. He is 14 seats short of the 330 seats needed to call a referendum on constitutional change but faces fierce opposition.

Above all, this leaves a Turkey that is as polarized as ever. There are more questions than answers despite the AKP’s sweep to power.

Does it indefinitely insist on a military solution against the PKK even when decades of such a formula have proved fruitless? How about the millions of Kurds that feels trapped between PKK violence and harsh government policies that ultimately voted for the stability of AKP?

The Kurdish question is not just a PKK question. Further democratic reforms are urgently needed to appease sliding Kurdish sentiment.

Then there is the fight against IS. For too long Turkey sat on the fence and the IS problem on its doorstep will only get worse. Turkey may want stability at home but it has to make tough calls to achieve this.

Insisting that the Syrian Kurdish forces, who are key players against IS, are no different to the PKK or not accepting the reality of Kurdish autonomy across the Syrian border, benefits no side.

Economic and foreign relation challenges only add to the complex picture.

Erdogan needs to make tough decisions if he is to bring Turkey the stability he preaches.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

Transformation of realities on the ground in Turkey since June polls but snap election outcome unlikely to follow suit

Less than 5 months after the historic national elections on 7th June, Turkey heads to the polls once more on 1st November. In such a short period of time, a lot has happened in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost their majority and much of that was owed to the success of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) led by Selahattin Demirtaş who gained 13% of the vote.

Coalition talks were destined to fail and the snap elections affords Erdogan and the AKP a second chance to win back their majority. Since June, the government has taken a number of steps home and abroad to transform the political calculus and its waning relations with the West.

A deadly Islamic State (IS) inspired bombing in Suruc not only opened the door to Turkey finally join the war against IS that the West long demanded but was also the basis for an agreement with the United States to use their strategically important Incirlik military base. This should have been a milestone but was quickly shadowed by Erdogan’s decision to expand the war on terror to its longtime foe the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and since then the reality of deadly conflict, curfews and instability threatens a return to the dark days of 1990’s.

The AKP’s start of a twin war against IS and PKK was a risky gamble and the polarization of Turkey has accelerated. For Erdogan to win back his majority, he needs to secure votes from the anti-Kurdish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and dilute the gains of HDP or even push their votes back below the 10% threshold by tying the PKK noose firmly around Demirtaş.

The worst terrorist attack in the history of Turkey on 10th October in Ankara left over a 100 dead. IS were the prime culprits for the bombing but nevertheless the fact it was aimed at a Kurdish rally only made sentiment worse. HDP have complained of a number of other attacks on its party since June.

Then in recent days the government stormed the headquarters of an opposition media group linked to Erdogan’s longtime rival Fethullah Gulen and his Hizmet movement.

In terms of foreign relations, Turkey has also tried to mend bridges by agreeing a deal with the EU on Turkey’s substantial Syrian refugee population that has caused a major migration crisis with the majority travelling through Turkey, in return for kick-starting stalled EU accessions talks. In recent weeks it has even shown flexibility to the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in line with its Western allies.

But while AKP has undertaken steps to reheat its frosty relations with the US-led coalition, it’s hardly convinced with US policy in Syria that has moved the Syrian Kurds to the forefront of the struggle against IS as the as most trusted and capable allies of the US.

Turkey has vowed to do “whatever necessary” against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) amidst increasing Kurdish autonomy and power in Syria that only fuels the PKK dilemma in Turkey.

Whilst the actions home and abroad have changes the calculus, it is unlikely to result in a major transformation at the polls.

AKP votes are unlikely to shift sufficiently to harness a majority and once the votes have been cast, Turkey has to come to terms with its growing polarization, its renewed military struggle against the Kurds with the prospects of peace an increasingly distant reality, its fallout from media raids, the constant threat of IS and the growing power of Syrian Kurds on its door-step.

Similar to first election, the AKP is likely need to negotiate with coalition partners, if it was difficult the first time, then it’s a much tougher predicament this time around with hard compromise needed.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

Turkey’s snap election promises yet more political deadlock and instability

Turkey faces a snap election on November 1st, just months after its last election. The elections of June 7th bore great significance as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its parliamentary majority owed to the success of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) that saw a Kurdish political party comfortably pass the 10% election threshold for the first time with 13% of the vote.

The first elections were symbolized by fierce rhetoric between HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. And the stage is set for a similar showdown ahead of the snap elections.

A few months may have passed since June but a lot has happened in this short time. The failure to form a coalition with either Republican People’s Party (CHP) or Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was worsened as the wounds of war were re-opened with Erdogan declaring war on the Islamic State (IS) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with the PKK taking by far the brunt of air strikes.

By re-opening the conflict with the PKK and effectively ending the peace process after relative calm since 2012, Turkey entered a dangerous phase.

For many critics, the PKK conflict was orchestrated with snap elections in mind, echoing concerns that coalition talks were always designed to fail.

Erdogan and the AKP have eyes firmly on a re-shot at gaining a parliamentary majority. Attacks on the PKK which have resulted in the death of dozens of security forces in return, may net nationalist votes which were unease over the Kurdish peace process but this further entrenches the Kurdish voter camp with the HDP.

It is not clear how many nationalist and conservative votes the AKP could really grab from MHP or the CHP or if the MHP or CHP would in fact be real benefactors in any nationalist swing. The election re-run introduces more questions than answers. The AKP may increase its voter base but ultimately the HDP is unlikely to drop below the 10% threshold that the AKP desperately needs to form a majority government.

With the renewal of the PKK conflict, this put the HDP in a difficult corner. Erdogan has persistently tried to tie the PKK noose around the HDP. At the same time, the pro-Kurdish party has felt compelled to protect Kurdish interests and condemn government actions.

Erdogan has insisted that the November election is about choosing between “stability and chaos” – Turkey is certainly in a phase of chaos with two new fronts against IS and the PKK, failure to form a coalition government for first time in its history and not forgetting the economic alarm bells that will ring louder in the event of more upheaval.

The question that the electoral will have to ultimately decide is whether this chaos has been fermented by Erdogan.

In an ironic twist, the CHP and the MHP refused to take part in the first interim government in Turkey’s history, but the HDP accepted 2 seats, meaning the AKP was effectively in short-term coalition with the HDP and numerous other independents.

This scenario is hardly a coincidence but a ploy by the MHP and particularly the CHP who were incensed at not been given the opportunity to form a coalition, to put the AKP in an awkward position of a de-facto coalition with the HDP.

Come November, Turkey will be in a similar positon of having to form a coalition government. This time negotiations and terms will be even more painstaking and the AKP will be in a more difficult corner if it fails to achieve the majority that it craves with the war on PKK and IS festering long beyond the elections.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

HDP’s historic triumph at the polls renews focus on peace process in Turkey

History was achieved at the polls in Turkey as the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) became the first pro-Kurdish party to enter parliament as it emphatically surpassed the traditionally elusive election threshold with 13% of the vote.

At the same time, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were the biggest losers even as they amassed the most votes.

The electoral outcome means that Turkey returns to the days of coalition governments and instability that blighted the country prior to the onset of the AKP in 2002. The elections results were also seen as a major dent in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan quest to amend the constitution and for a stronger presidential system.

The manifestation of 80 seats in parliament in many ways builds a new bridge between East and West of Turkey. For too long, the Kurdish problem was reduced to a terror problem. In fact, various Kurdish parties suffered under the PKK label and were quickly shut.

However, 13% of the national vote is a strong political mandate and not a voice of terror. The people clearly strive for peace and a strong voice in parliament is the vehicle for the Kurdish card to firmly enter Turkish politics.

Importantly, the HDP were able to successfully muster non-Kurdish votes which is important in its ambition to become a progressive party of Turkey.

The peace process became a key battleground between the AKP and HDP as fierce rhetoric resonated on the issue.

The peace process has somewhat stalled ahead of the elections with the PKK not willing to giving up arms outright without certain conditions been met and the AKP not willing to alienate its nationalist voter base by succumbing to PKK demands.

HDP has worked as a key interlocutor with a measure of influence with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, but they have stressed that the power to instigate the giving up of arms is with Ocalan and not them.

HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş hit back at criticism of interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the issue of laying down of arms, as heated rhetoric continued in the aftermath of the elections, stating that only Ocalan is capable of this and “Ocalan will make the call, and he is ready in İmralı to do it.”

A HDP delegation is seemingly ready to visit Imrali where there is optimism that Ocalan could set a date for the party’s congress to convene discussions on laying down of arms. Ocalan has undoubted influence but from an isolated prison other wider PKK circles have to be appeased, and it’s not clear how far or how willing a potentially weaker new government in Turkey would be to meeting key demands.

Elusive peace has many obstacles and many foes. Deadly bombings at a HDP rally days before the elections, increasing skirmishes between the PKK and Turkish forces and most recently a number of fatalities as the leader of a charity linked to the Kurdish Islamist political party Huda Par, with traditional animosity with the PKK, was killed.

It is clear so soon after the elections that these provocations are intended to stir unrest in the south east of Turkey and derail peace. This could be from nationalists who want to undermine the success of the HDP at the polls or sideline any peace with the PKK or show that HDP has unsufficient weight to placate the Kurdish region, from Huda Par seeking to stir old tension with the PKK or even elements from the PKK who believe their armed struggle is not over.

Demirtaş lashed out at the lack of government response, “People are taking steps to push the country into a civil war, and the prime minister and president are nowhere to be seen.”

From essential non-existence to a strong role in parliament, the Kurds have a come a long way in Turkey, the implementation of the peace process is now of critical importance for a better Turkey for both Turks and Kurds.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc

HDP on cusp of history in Turkey’s elections but price of failure remains high

For many years, the Kurds suffered a choice of the Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) armed struggle and the repressive policies of successive governments. For the dozens of Kurdish political parties, allegations of been a voice of the PKK and Turkey’s harsh security laws, saw them quickly shut down.

Now ahead of historic general elections on 7th June, the Kurds latest political incarnation, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) led by Selahattin Demirtaş, not only strives to pass the elusive 10 percent election threshold that has so often blighted Kurdish parties but extend its support base to become a Turkish party that is representative of a wide range of groups and not just Kurds.

HDP’s quest to enter parliament as a party and not via the traditional independent candidate route, is seen by many as a gamble but it also demonstrates the growing confidence of the party.

Even as Kurds represent a large section of the population, the 10% threshold has been hard to breach. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have worked effectively to split the Kurdish vote in previous elections, especially from Islamist and conservative circles.

Then there are those Kurds who were greatly discouraged by voting for any Kurdish party who would ultimately fail to break the threshold and thus lose their votes and voice.

Couple with Kurdish fallout over Ankara’s stance on the struggle of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane under a fierce Islamic State (IS) onslaught, the stalling of the Kurdish peace process, HDP’s broader manifesto and the prospect that HDP will enter parliament, the Kurdish voter base has become rich pickings.

Amidst the backdrop of the campaign to become a truly Turkish party, another key HDP battle ground has been the West of Turkey. The focus has been on displaying an image of a libertarian leftist party and capitalizing on disaffected and disenfranchised voters growing uneasy with the AKP or nationalist alternatives, especially appealing to Gezi protestors.

Demirtaş 9.7% of the vote in the presidential elections is deemed as a measure that HDP influence is growing.

As a party of the voice of marginalized, HDP has an appeal and a larger electorate including that of numerous other minorities. It is an alternative to the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) or the Right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), but the key test is whether it can must enough of these non-Kurdish votes, even if it successfully navigates the 10% threshold.

If it remains a Kurdish voice and a party of the Kurdish region, then it will struggle to escape the PKK stigma.

Such is the significance that the 10% of HDP vote may bring that the election campaign has pitted them in constant confrontation with the AKP.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has made no secret of his desire to rewrite the constitution after the elections, has traded frequent harsh rhetoric with Demirtaş. At the same time, Demirtaş has been equally clear that once in parliament he will be an obstacle to AKP goals and policies.

Then there are the bombings of HDP offices in May and in recent days a deadly double bombing at a HDP rally in Diyarbakir that killed or wounded dozens.

The bombings are a reminder of the nationalist camps in Turkey that aim stir violence and keep the south-eastern question as an armed struggle calculus, and then there are Kurds who are skeptical at the prospects of true peace and Kurdish rights through parliament.

If the HDP does breakthrough the threshold, it would empower their position as interlocutors in the peace-process. It will also give them a true platform to extend their gains.

On the flip side, if HDP fails to achieve this target, there are significant repercussions. Millions of votes would have lost their voice in parliament leading to further unrest, the Kurdish peace process may become sidelined or diluted and HDP would see their seats giving to the next largest party, most likely the AKP.

The AKP have vowed that the peace process will pursue regardless of the HDP in parliament. But whether it’s a change in constitution or peace with the PKK, without opposition in parliament, the AKP will have an unhindered path.

In either case, AKP is likely to muster a strong portion of the vote again and this will increase fractures with opposing political and ideological camps.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc