Government will beat war drums ahead election, warns HDP, vowing clean campaign

Government will beat war drums ahead election, warns HDP, vowing clean campaign

Government will beat war drums ahead election, warns HDP, vowing clean campaign

Selahattin Demirtaş (L) and Figen Yüksekdağ, co-leaders of the pro-Kurdish left-wing Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) wave during a rally marking the start of the party's campaign for Turkey's upcoming parliamentary elections set for June 7, in Ankara April 10, 2015. AFP Photo

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will try to escalate tension out of its rising sense of panic ahead of the June 7 parliamentary election, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said, while vowing to conduct his own party’s campaign in a “humane and friendly” way. 

“We’re going into an election, not a war. As they become increasingly panicked, the party in power will try to create tension by beating the war drums. But we will not abandon the democratic race even in such an election environment where all the opportunities of the state, including the presidential office, are under the order of one party: The ruling party,” Demirtaş said on April 10.

“None of the political parties are our enemy. They are all our political rivals. No candidate of any other party is our enemy. We will conduct this election campaign through entirely humane and friendly relations,” he added. 

Demirtaş’s remarks came at a meeting where he and fellow HDP Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ ceremonially presented their party’s candidates for the election. The names of candidates had already been made public as the candidate lists of all political parties were submitted to the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on April 7, which was the deadline.

The HDP’s candidate list mirrors its resolve to embrace different segments of Turkish society in order to reach its ambitious goal of exceeding the 10 percent election threshold by deciding to enter the elections as a party.

“You are not only Turkish, Kurdish; not solely Armenian, Arab, Circassian, Georgian or Bosniak. You are all of them. You are not only Alevi, Sunni, Syriac, or Yazidi. You are not solely Jewish, Hebrew, or Christian. You are all,” Demirtaş said, directly addressing the candidates.

“None of us has a signle identity, we are all joint representatives of all identities,” he added.

At the same meeting, the campaign slogan of the HDP was announced as “We the HDP, We to the parliament.” The slogan has also been picked as theme of the party’s official election song. 

“We are talking about a true justice, neither by denying ourselves nor by killing anybody else. As the HDP’s women gradually liberate Turkey, all women will begin turning to their own parties to say ‘Look at what is going on in the HDP. We want that too.’ The young people will smash the 10 percent election threshold into pieces,” Demirtaş said.

Of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament, nominees for 268 of them were allocated to women by the HDP. In addition to both veteran and young figures of the Kurdish political movement, in constituencies where the HDP is likely to win, candidates vary from socialists to pious Muslims, individuals from ethnic and religious minorities, activists from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups, and an outspoken conscientious objector.