Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli nominated as new HDP co-chairs

Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli nominated as new HDP co-chairs

Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli nominated as new HDP co-chairs

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul lawmaker Pervin Buldan and HDP deputy co-chair Sezai Temelli have been nominated as prospective co-chairs in the party’s upcoming congress, incumbent HDP co-chair Serpil Kemalbay said during a press conference in Ankara on Feb. 8.

“Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli will stand for the co-chair positions in our congress,” she said, referring to the upcoming vote to elect the party’s leaders.

A consensus commission set up to pick co-chair candidates had already selected Buldan to replace jailed co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been accused of various terrorist activities, according to Turkish media reports on Feb. 7.

As a lawmaker who represented the eastern province of Iğdır for two terms and current HDP deputy chair, Buldan has been deemed an experienced politician.

In an interview with Doğan News Agency on Jan. 12, Demirtaş said he would undertake any duties given to him by the HDP, despite having stepped aside from the leadership race.

Sezai Temelli, an economics professor dismissed from Istanbul University by an emergency decree law, was elected as an Istanbul lawmaker in the June 2016 elections but failed to keep his seat in the snap elections held in November of the same year.

The HDP’s third ordinary congress has been scheduled for Feb. 11.

Some 500 members of the HDP have been detained in the last 10 days mainly due to their opposition to “Operation Olive Branch” but they are determined to make the congress a new start in the struggle for peace, Kemalbay said.

Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to remove Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Syria’s northwestern Afrin district.

The Kurdish issue-focused HDP has been under pressure since the collapse of a peace process between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in summer 2015. Since the July 2016 coup attempt a total of seven HDP MPs have had their MP status revoked and dozens of municipalities previously run by the HDP have been replaced by Ankara-appointed administrations.