Demirtaş: Yenikapı’s flaw was not HDP’s absence, but understanding democracy

Demirtaş: Yenikapı’s flaw was not HDP’s absence, but understanding democracy

Demirtaş: Yenikapı’s flaw was not HDP’s absence, but understanding democracy

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said the “understanding of democracy” was the only thing missing from the “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” at the Yenikapı parade ground in Istanbul held on Aug. 7, not his party’s absence.

“The flaw in [the] Yenikapı [rally] was not the HDP [being absent], but the flaw of understanding democracy. There was no crumb of democracy there,” Demirtaş said Aug. 9, while speaking at a parliamentary group meeting of his party.

“The HDP was not in Yenikapı because the sole party which does not have a relationship with Fethullah is the HDP,” said Demirtaş, referring to Pennsylvania-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, blamed by Ankara for the July 15 failed coup attempt.

The Yenikapı event was the first time the leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shared the same platform. However the HDP – the third largest party in parliament – was not present.

“Senior staff [members] of the AKP, the CHP and the MHP have been in dialogue with Fethullah and they were aware of the coup! Of course, the HDP is absent among them!” he said.

“The AKP and Cemaat are partners,” said Demirtaş. Gülen’s followers are often referred to as the “Hizmet” (Service) Movement, “Cemaat” (Community) or as the “parallel structure” by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government.

“How come they tricked you?” Demirtaş asked, apparently addressing the ruling AKP government. 

“Like you, they also collaborated to capture the state. They don’t want Gülen’s extradition, because if Gülen talks, God forbid, Turkey turns into the single-party system, because, then, we would stand alone. If Gülen is extradited and starts talking, then you would look and see that no such thing as the state has remained. Gülen is the principal state, they are the parallel,” he said.

Erdoğan had told the rally of more than 1 million people that July’s failed coup would be a milestone in building a stronger Turkey, defying Western criticism of mass purges and vowing to destroy those behind the putsch. The “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” at the Yenikapı parade ground, built into the sea on the southern edge of Istanbul, was an apparent show of strength by Erdoğan, who has been angered by European criticism of his combative response to the coup and U.S. reluctance to hand over Gülen, the man he accuses of masterminding it.