Hard choice for Kurds: Erdoğan or Demirtaş?

Hard choice for Kurds: Erdoğan or Demirtaş?

There are two tendencies.

One sees the continuation of the peace process in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political future.

That’s why it deems it important that he gets elected with a strong and definite victory in the first round.

This tendency is being represented by İhsan Arslan.

The other does not see the peace process under threat. “Erdoğan will win anyway, so at least he should not come out strong in the first round, let him stay until the second round,” it thinks. It wants to turn these elections into an opportunity to show the Kurds’ numbers.

This tendency is represented by Dengir Mîr Mehmet Fırat, who recently resigned from the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In other words, it comes down to whether we will elect a president or have a population count...
Who will the Kurds vote for and why?

Last week, two individuals that have been active in politics under the AKP roof have chosen their side and declared their arguments.

One will vote to elect a president that will enhance the peace process. The other, so that the Kurdish electorate can be counted at the ballot box...

Arslan, who was a Diyarbakır parliamentarian for two terms, and Fırat, who was a long time high-level AKP official, were known to have close views. They were good fellows.

It is the first time their views are colliding. It’s not only that they have fallen into disagreement, they have parted their ways at critical crossroads.


Why Demirtaş, why Erdoğan?

The reason why Fırat prefers Selahattin Demirtaş, the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is this:

“The Kurds’ votes in the presidential elections will be very influential. In other words, if the right action is made, they can show their weight. I have never been for the [outlawed] Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. That is, I have never had faith in Marxist-Leninist politics and violence, but despite that, I will cast my vote in the presidential elections for Demirtaş.

This is a two-round election. Even if we all voted, it is not possible for Selahattin Demirtaş to be elected. Still, there is a 20 percent Kurdish presence in Turkey and these elections are very important to show this presence. It is the first time there has been such an opportunity and, I as a Kurd, no matter how differently I think, will vote for Demirtaş.”

And the following lines are from Arslan’s open letter to the public:

“I recall the old Turkey, the days when speaking Kurdish and singing in Kurdish was banned, the existence of Kurds was even denied, when even saying ‘I am a Kurd’ was considered a sin and crime.

I recall vividly the days of emergency rules, the unsolved murders. I also recall the days when using the word ‘Kurdistan,’ to consider Kurds as interlocutors, to talk about peace were considered betrayal...
I believe that many people will definitely recall those days.

Let’s not forget that the continuation, as well as successful outcome, of the current peace process carries vital importance for both Kurds and Turks.

Indeed Erdoğan’s victory in the Aug. 10 elections will make it possible for the peace and brotherhood project to be completed. The opposite will obstruct the process. It is crystal clear the process cannot advance with a Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] government or a HDP president with limited power.
That’s why it is very important not to fall into the mistake of seeing the Aug. 10 elections as a population census.

On the contrary, the main purpose should be to fully support a leadership and political will that can complete the peace process successfully.

If, at this point, if we as Kurds and Turks are truly genuine in our resolution to build our future together, then we have no choice but to support Erdoğan”

Erdoğan will win. But how will he win? Should his hand be weakened or strengthened?

Look at the impasse the Kurdish movement has been cornered into. What a smart strategy; what a massive political calculation.