Women and young people made the election results

Women and young people made the election results

Filiz Kerestecioğlu was one of Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) feminist candidates. Now, she is a new member of parliament. One of her quotes was unforgettable: “I can sometimes be a woman subject to violence, sometimes a Kurd, sometimes a tree, and sometimes a mule.”

Reflecting on the results, Kerestecioğlu said she was happy and a little surprised. “We have worked so intensely for the past three months that until the last moment, until the results came, I thought ‘Really? Is this real? Did we win? Did we succeed?’” she said. “When I saw my son in the morning I started crying. I saw the happiness on his face and I was assured that we were the winners of this election, because my son is one of the millions of young people in the country who want change.” 

Turkish people want peace, fraternity, respect, not loud voices, and not being scolded, said Kerestecioğlu. She believes that young people and women determined the election results. “I felt it during the campaign. Young people and women we did not know before hugged us. They were more aware of their own value, and they wanted to elect people who would carry them there.” 

Speaking after the election HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said his party “received entrusted votes, temporary votes. We will be worthy of their trust.” Kerestecioğlu is also aware of the “entrusted, temporary, only-one-time” votes. 

According to her, the election marked a “breaking point” in the prejudices between the Turkish and the Kurdish people. “That prejudice was a result of the gap between these two people because of the state tradition and manipulations,” she said. “We started breaking these prejudices in this election. The HDP had been known as a “Kurdish Party” up to now. But today everything is different. As we wrote in our election manifesto, we want to embrace women, young people, laborers, people of different faiths, or without faith, Alevis, Armenians, Jews, Yezidis, Romans, and all minorities. People recognized that and voted for tranquility and peace.”

The fact that 31 women deputies have been elected to parliament only from the HDP is significant.

Kerestecioğlu agreed with this and said it would change the parliament arithmetic in favor of women a little bit: “Of course we would have wanted more, but this is just a beginning. If we unite with the other women deputies for common targets in favor of the women of this country, then I believe we can achieve several significant aims. I am going to parliament as a feminist. My candidacy is based on this. I am entering parliament to be the voice of my fellow comrades outside. The issue of women is important for me. Their issues are my issues.”

People have been unable to stop the smiles on their faces since the election, Kerestecioğlu suggested, adding that this election showed that the people of Turkey want peace, so the peace process negotiations must go on: “Women should also be active in the peace process. One of the ‘peace mothers’ at Yoğurtçu Park in Istanbul extended her hand to the mothers of soldiers, begging them to hold that hand and not let it go. She said this so sincerely that this must now happen. The responsibility is on us. That is why people voted for us.”