Turkey. Ballot boxes can never be used as the means to legitimize fascism
“We advise those who claim that the HDP is not a political party representing the whole of Turkey to look at these results…what is clear is that Turkey can only move forward by carrying onward its democratic struggle and not by institutionalizing fascism and one-man-rule. Ballot boxes can never be used as the means to legitimize fascism.” Pervin Buldan & Sezai Temelli
- First of all, we would like to thank everyone who has been with us during this campaign. We would like to thank those who have not voted for us, but have struggled for a safe and sound election, those who displayed common sense in the face of provocations such as the terrible incident in Suruç and attempts to terrorize the election process.
We have received the messages of those who voted for the HDP and we will continue our struggle with a political line that will not disappoint them. We have also received messages from those who spared their votes or who hesitated for some reason; we will pursue our efforts to win their hearts and support by eliminating our shortcomings and weaknesses.
And a very special thanks to all the peoples of Turkey, especially the Kurdish people who have not been submissive and said no to persecution and devotedly worked and struggled despite all the difficulties and oppressions.
- The June 24th elections were held in the shadow of the state of emergency, under unfair and unequal conditions, in an environment without democratic legitimacy. The electoral turnout cannot be the indication of democracy or legitimacy.
Despite all these difficulties, the HDP has passed the election threshold. The HDP has become the third party in parliament in terms of the percentage of votes it received, and in terms of the distribution of seats in parliament.
- Our Presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, came third despite totally unequal and unfair conditions, after all, he carried out his election campaign from prison. For the first time in the history of world politics, a presidential candidate campaigned from prison, and as a political hostage. Arbitrariness and unlawfullness must be ended and Demirtaş, who has received around 4.5 million votes, must be released immediately.
- The picture of our first evaluations of numerical data sheds light on what we should do in the following days:
Compared to the November 2015 elections, our vote share has risen in total 725 thousand votes. In Istanbul and İzmir, it has passed the level reached at the 7 June 2015 when the HDP became the third party. Also in other western cities, the obtained results are either higher than the June 7 or November 1 elections. In Antalya and Kocaeli, where we lost a deputy on 1 November, we compensated our loss and a great success was achieved in Hatay, where we won our first deputy. We advise those who claim that HDP is not a political party representing the whole of Turkey to look at these results.
We also recommend that they should look at the parliamentary composition in terms of women’s representation. The current picture of the parliament is clearly male-dominated. The only exception is the HDP, whose 26 candidates have become members of parliament, even if equal representation has not been achieved within its own group. We realize that this is a shortcoming in achieving the goal of equal representation and we will focus our work on this subject in the following term.
- However, we regret to say that in the Kurdish cities we couldn’t reach the intended vote levels while losing around 120 thousand votes. This result was due to the heavy pressures, relocation of some ballot boxes, forced migration, high amount of invalid votes, barring of our political activities and observers, detention of our provincial administrations and party members and intervention to the elections by the whole administrative and military structure of the state, and the deep arm of the state in favor of the People’s Alliance and particularly the MHP.
But we are not going to make an excuse out of these obviously negative circumstances. Despite everything we see the results in this region as our own failure.
- The election results also showed that the peoples of Turkey affirmed with their votes that a parliament and a real struggle for democracy and justice cannot be without the HDP. They have said that there cannot be peace, democracy, a new life and pluralism without the HDP.
We are aware that those votes have been cast not just for the HDP, but for the HDP’s values and its struggle for democracy. HDP voters also clearly support a strong parliamentary regime, strong local democracy, rule of law, an independent and impartial judiciary. The HDP will continue to do its best to be worthy of this endorsement and to shoulder the accumulation of Turkey’s 150 years of the struggle for democracy.
- Another goal of the HDP in these elections was to prevent the institutionalization of the one-man regime. Unfortunately, this goal couldn’t be achieved partly because of the National Alliance’s timid and anxious attitude regarding the development of a democratic opposition. But what is clear is that Turkey can only move forward by carrying onward its democratic struggle and not by institutionalizing fascism and one-man-rule. Ballot boxes can never be used as the means to legitimize fascism.
- Despites its shortcomings and failures, we aim to continue our campaign by linking it to the March 2019 local elections. Once again we emphasize that it is vital to act sensitively, carefully and to organize without forgetting that we live under conditions of fascistic oppression, where even the slightest mistake can prove costly.
The democratic social opposition must trust itself; by reinforcing solidarity, it must be locked on to new targets without being overwhelmed and withdrawn. The election process has brought out a positive synergy, and nobody has the right to waste it. This motivation can be maintained with the right policies and committed steps. For democratization and to solve the Kurdish problem in Turkey, social democratic opposition forces should combine their powers on the basis of common principles.
- Those who voted for the HDP know that we have survived to this day by resisting and struggling, and we will continue to exist by resisting. Particularly Kurds and all the peoples and democratic forces of Turkey will be the social opposition of the new era and keep struggling against this one-man-regime. An arbitrary and irregular regime that gathers legislative, executive and judicial powers in one place, abandons the separation of powers, makes balance and control mechanisms ineffective, renders jurisdiction partial and dependent, and violates all democratic rights and freedoms for the purposes of its power to govern cannot be accepted.
The AKP has lost its majority in Parliament by losing more than 2 million votes in both the east and the west of Turkey. The AKP is now forced to exist as a minority government and in coalition. On the other hand, the 16-year AKP rule has in fact created profound social, cultural, urban and ecological destruction. An economic crisis is now only a matter of time. It is very likely that a new belt-tightening package will be imposed on our peoples. The HDP considers fighting against the efforts to burden this heavy weight on the working class as one of its priorities.
- The alliance that will change this one-man regime will set the stage for the democratic developments of the future. As the HDP, we are committed to assume an active and bold role and mission. We will not bow down to any threat regardless of where it comes from. We will succeed in this with the policies we will develop for democratization and the solution of social problems.
In this context, the HDP will take its place at the front line of the democracy block. With its activities and struggle, the HDP has nurtured both courage and hope against the empire of fear that the AKP has been trying to create. The HDP has been the building force and locomotive of democracy and the peace struggle, and will remain so into the future. The HDP is the home of hope, and the assurance of a democratic future.
Pervin Buldan & Sezai Temelli
27 June 2018
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) launching their manifesto for the 2018 general election
By Mahmut Bozarslan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons