From HDP convention: We are the remedy

From HDP convention: We are the remedy

Pınar Öğünç
At the Ahmet Taner Kışlalı Sports Hall, where their convention was held in Ankara, with banners on all sides of the stands the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) described itself with these adjectives:

Democratic, populist, liberal, colorful, youngest, pro-autonomy, peaceful, ecologist, egalitarian, laborer, LGBTI and a female party…

As the idea matured, the HDP generated several debates. From the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and even to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). This is also related to its formula. What kind of a formula is this?

The People’s Democratic Congress (HDK) started two years ago with the Labor, Democracy and Freedom Block. The aim was to make the Kurdish political movement meet Turkey’s democracy, labor powers, its socialists, the LGBT individuals who have limited political representation, all belief and culture groups at the axis of equality and labor.

On Saturday, I listened to various delegates at the Kocatepe Culture Center where the Third General Assembly of the HDK was held, to talk about what has been done since then, as well as self-criticism about what has not been done. I can say the frequently mentioned themes were Gezi and Kurds.

Where has the HDK, while it started with this idea born unexpectedly at Gezi, positioned itself during the resistance?

The HDP will be talked about a lot with what was experienced at the convention; moreover, in regards with the size of a new party from the point of the potential it is after…

The new Co-chair Sebahat Tuncel said in her speech they were representing “all segments of society except for a handful of dominants.” For this reason, the HDP has been causing concerns for many people, adding, “We are not desperate; we are the remedy.”

It was actually an interesting situation to see how effective the Gezi incident was. I’m not only talking about the facts that its fundamental slogan was “This is only a beginning,” and that in every speech, those who lost their lives, eyes and health after Gezi were commemorated. For example, at a time when you can call the most Kurdish moment of the speeches, the slogan, “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance” was able to be chanted in mass… Also, while Tuncel was counting three historic incidents, she first mentioned the reading out of Abdullah Öcalan’s message on Nevruz, and then she mentioned Gezi. The third historic incident after these two was the HDP held its major convention and set forth for elections, according to Tuncel.

By selecting a general subject, one can form a thousand sentences on the relationship between Kurds and Gezi. We are talking about a mass that contains those who react to a BDP deputy and also those thousands who have gathered for Medeni Yıldırım. However, what is understood from this convention is that besides the possibility of the birth of a very significant political breath for Turkey, the HDP is at the same time a candidate to become a “Gezi Party” with its grassroots. This is not like a dress it later put on, but quite the opposite, by remembering and reminding the one it had on two years ago when it set forth as the HDK…

The only incident that shadowed the enthusiasm in the hall was the illness of Co-chair Ertuğrul Kürkçü after his exciting and subtle speech. I am saying subtle because after using wolves as a metaphor for evil in his speech, he remembered his party’s ecologic sensitivity and added, “We have endless respect for the wolves in the wild. Our problem is with the wolves among people.” Fortunately, news from the hospital regarding his health was positive.

There is a lot to talk about the HDP and its convention. I am stopping here with my eyes dazzled by the magnificence of the giant “halay” (folk dance) accompanying the music of the group “Kardeş Türküler.”

Pınar Öğünç is a columnist for the daily Radikal in which this piece was published on Oct. 28. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.