HDP says has no Plan B other than entering parliament
CİHAN PhotoRuling out the possibility of failing to enter parliament as a party in the June 7 parliamentary elections, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), considered by many as a kingmaker in the coming elections, has said it has no Plan B other than to clear Turkey’s 10 percent parliamentary threshold.
“The HDP will clear the threshold. I believe that we will pass the threshold. We don’t have a Plan B. I promise you; if we cannot clear the threshold, on the night of June 7, after the elections, I will deliver my first statement to you, and I will explain what we will say and do,” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said in an interview with Habertürk television channel, when asked what his party would do if it fails to pass the 10 percent threshold needed to enter parliament.
“Beyond any doubt, we will move forward with everything if we ultimately cannot pass the threshold. We are a party. A party doesn’t cease to be a party when it has no deputies. Even if we get 9.9 percent of the votes, then we would still be the fourth biggest party in Turkey. We will just have no parliamentary group. Everything that we defend, all of the commitments under which we put our signature; they will continue, we will continue fighting for these. That’s why I say, ‘There is no Plan B,’” Demirtaş said in the interview aired late April 22.
Founded in 2012, the HDP is the latest in a series of parties mainly fighting for what they describe as injustice against the Kurdish people. In the past, its politicians have run as independents and formed parliamentary groups after entering the assembly.
In the 2011 election, independent candidates for the Labor, Democracy and Freedom Bloc supported by the HDP’s predecessor, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), garnered 6.5 percent of the vote and won 36 seats. Demirtaş won 9.76 percent of the vote in a 2014 presidential election won by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
No ‘organic connection’ with PKK
The HDP has no “organic connection” with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Demirtaş said, noting that they would not hesitate to announce such a link if it existed.
“The PKK is an organization which entirely has a decision-making mechanism. We don’t have any organic connection. If there was [such a connection], we wouldn’t be afraid of saying this. If it were so, maybe, it would have been better and we would more easily ensure disarmament,” Demirtaş said.
The deadly April 11 clash between security forces and the PKK which took place in the Diyadin district of the Eastern Anatolian province of Ağrı on April 11 also came to the agenda during the interview. Soon after the clash, controversy erupted on the source of intelligence that led to the deployment of security forces by the provincial gendarmerie command.
“In similar incidents in the past, the government used to call us and ask us to intervene. They used to say ‘There will be a festival at bla bla place and armed persons may come there.’ And we used to say the required things so that ‘those kinds of things’ would not happen at that festival. They could have said the same thing in Diyadin, too,” Demirtaş said.
“If they had said ‘We got intelligence and the HDP should use its power if possible,’ we would use it [this power] and we would do our best. Since you got the intelligence, why didn’t you give us a call instead of sending 15 gendarmes there?”
‘CUP responsible for genocide, not Turkish nation’
Demirtaş also touched upon the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire on the eve of April 24, Genocide Remembrance Day for Armenians.
“This is a genocide which took place during the Committee of Union and Progress [CUP] era. Some 1.5 million Armenian people died. Kurds died too, Turks died too, grave pains were experienced,” he said.
“This is not the Turks’ crime and nobody is accusing the Turkish nation either. I haven’t seen any Armenian who accuses the Turkish nation. There was a team from the CUP; that team made such decisions, and political responsibility belongs to them. And us, as the society of Turkey, we are trying to throw off this sin in some way,” he said, noting that the Turkish nation did not need to act with such panic.
A truth and reconciliation commission would help reveal all the traumas of the past, he said.
The HDP and its predecessors have long termed the events of 1915 as a genocide.