Local tribes shift to HDP from AKP, ‘persuasion commissions’ cited as reason
Bahadır Özgür - ISTANBULA number of local tribes in southeastern Turkey that are known to have voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the past 12 years have turned to the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), campaigning on the streets of Şanlıurfa in favor of the HDP.
Mehmet Koşut, the head of the HDP in Şanlıurfa’s Suruç district, said the shift from the AKP to the HDP in Turkey’s southern tribes was due to the “persuasion commissions,” which are attended intensively by tribal leaders.
The “persuasion commissions” are made up the region’s opinion leaders, religious leaders, civil society representatives, young people, and professional representatives.
The commissions choose the people who have good relations with a certain tribe and send this delegation to hold days-long meetings to understand what the tribe wants and needs.
The HDP has in recent years sought to transform this traditional regional structure into a modern political mechanism, Koşut said.
Koşut also cited the protests over the siege on the Kurdish-populated town Kobane in northern Syria on Oct. 6-7, in which dozens of lives were claimed as they demonstrated against the government’s perceived inaction against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) advance.
Nearly all of the tribes siding with HDP today have been staunch supporters of the AKP over its 13 years in power.
The Raman tribe, which has a vote potential of around 20,000, from the southeastern Batman province, and the Alpahanlar tribe, also from Batman, to which the AKP’s Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker belongs, are said to have shifted to the HDP.