We held meetings to discuss and determine HDP’s path in the coming term as part of our campaign titled “We are the HDP, we are everywhere” in the past three months. And the declaration resulting from the evaluations carried out by our party’s committees, voters, friends and comrades in the struggle for democracy was announced at an event held today in Ankara. Our co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar shared the declaration with the public. English version of the declaration reads as follows:
As Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), we have visited all parts of the country – villages, towns and cities– in the last few months and held meetings with citizens from all walks of life – from workers, women, the youth, tradespeople, and opinion leaders to representatives of the civil society and democratic mass organizations — in order to discuss and find solutions to political, economic, and social problems towards building a democratic country.
Our peoples are grappling with conditions of intertwined and multiple crises such as the coronavirus pandemic, floods, fires, drought, unemployment, high cost of living, poverty, corruption, lack of accommodation for university students, racism, discrimination, sexism, prohibitions, tyranny and violence. We have listened to our peoples’ cries that are being stifled by the government as well as their solution proposals to overcome such crises.
We have observed that our peoples are full of hope and have the determination to not bow down to oppression, to turn crisis into an opportunity to win the future, to produce solutions to political, economic and social problems, and to pave the way that leads to democracy.
We have determined that at a time when the society is almost suffocating and the wreckage is looming large in many areas from economy to politics, the general expectation, need and demand of the people center around an urgent democratic change and transformation.
We have noted that the upcoming period and elections are viewed by our people as one of the most important turning points for the establishment of a democratic republic. We have also seen that our people consider the upcoming elections as a new beginning, and an opportunity for the opening of democratic ways to resolve existing problems.
The fact that large segments of the society emphasize the HDP’s being the key in the new democratic beginning with its deliberative approach and the need for the HDP to assume and fulfill the role of a founding political actor and a solution force increases our responsibility.
◼ For the parliamentary elections, under the motto of “Democracy Alliance” and based on an understanding of an alliance of peoples and peace, of women’s solidarity, and ecology, we are determined to broaden the ground for collective struggle and to achieve the largest alliance with the social and political opposition and the labor, women’s, and youth movements, and we remain committed to maintaining our strong march on this path. We openly emphasize that we do not seek to find a place in any other alliance [than the Democracy Alliance] for the parliamentary elections.
We want to change the Executive Presidential System together with the structures that feed it, which we believe seeks to make arbitrariness and tyranny institutionalized and permanent and is thus the primary reason behind the multiple crises and the deadlock we face. Our objective is to replace this authoritarian and monistic system, which hands over all powers and the ultimate decision-making authority to one single man, with a strong democracy, a pluralistic democratic system.
◼ Within this context, the contemporary situation necessitates achieving a principled consensus for the Presidential elections, as HDP voters have a key role in determining the country’s future. Regardless of whether the presidential candidate is affiliated with the HDP or not, we believe that we need to discuss principles and methods rather than the names of potential candidates. Democratic transformation cannot be achieved through individuals; such transformation will come through negotiations and consensus-building on principles and methods. The elected President can properly fulfill his/her role and function only on this ground.
It is our political responsibility to share with all political actors and the broader public the principles for the transitional period ahead, principles that encompass the aforementioned observations.
A STRONG DEMOCRACY: We believe that Turkey’s fundamental need is to achieve a strong democracy based on the principles of participation, negotiation and democratic consensus, where universal fundamental rights and freedoms are ensured in the widest way possible. Within this framework, we envision a democratic parliamentary system that warrants a pluralistic parliament with broad authorities, ensures the separation of powers, and implements an effective system of checks and balances.
A strong democracy also requires an understanding of subsidiarity and local government. This is why the principle of the separation of powers should be expanded so as to include local governments; authorities and resources should be delegated to the local governments; and local participatory mechanisms should function fully in a strong local democracy. It would be impossible to build a strong democracy without these.
AN IMPARTIAL AND INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY: The Judiciary is under the tutelage of the Executive. The understanding in power has destroyed justice in every sense by redesigning politics and the society through the judiciary while turning the judiciary into an instrument to liquidate the opposition. That is why all politically motivated trials, convictions and their consequences should be rescinded as a necessity towards restoring justice and social peace. To address injustices and right the wrongs, it is also an urgent need to comply with the decisions and recommendations of international institutions, first and foremost those of the the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), regarding rights violations, unlawful prison conditions, solitary confinement, and the like.
PEOPLE’S WILL INSTEAD OF THE REGIME OF TRUSTEES: Legal amendments must be introduced as a matter of urgency to put an end to the regime of trustees which has permeated many institutions from local authorities and universities and civil society organizations, violates the right to elect and be elected, usurps the will of the people, disregards the electoral justice. Steps must also be taken to redress the damage inflicted by this regime and the rights of the victims of the trusteeship must be restored.
A DEMOCRATIC RESOLUTION OF THE KURDISH ISSUE: The most deeply-rooted issue Turkey needs to resolve is the Kurdish issue. HDP is committed to a democratic resolution and peace and stands ready to do whatever it can, to assume a constructive role that takes into consideration problems and concerns of all segments of the society in Turkey. Establishing a dialogue with interlocutors for the resolution of this problem is directly linked to and intertwined with the democratization of the republic. Instead of policies of denial and repression, steps for a democratic and peaceful resolution must be taken. The Parliament should lay the foundations for dialogue and resolution and by utilizing democratic negotiation methods it should facilitate and be the focus of efforts to win over the future for the society at large. Within this perspective, all universal identity-related rights (chief among them the right to mother-tongue) should be guaranteed by introducing the necessary legal arrangements.
Instead of policies of war, arms and conflict, options of dialogue and negotiation impose themselves from a historical point of view, and as such are vitally important. For this, by taking into account the interests of peoples of Turkey and their future, everybody should make the necessary sacrifices and take action. It is our principle to resolve our differences by talking, by negotiating and by dialogue rather than violence.
A PEACEFUL FOREIGN POLICY: Strategies that are pro-peace at home, in the region and the world and that are based on long-term cooperation should be the basis of the foreign policy understanding of the new era. It is to the benefit of us all to move away from adventurous policies that are based on war and conflict, and the show of military might with other countries, most importantly with our neighbours. Instead, we need to pursue strong and principled diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful policies based on improved relations in every field.
FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR WOMEN: Rights pertaining to gender equality and freedom for women should be assured in every way possible and to achieve equality in representation the practice of co-chairship should be disseminated further. At the same time, it is a necessity to fight against systematic male violence towards women and femicides. Re-enacting the Istanbul Convention and implementing it fully, eliminating political, administrative, economic and cultural barriers in front of gender equality are among the urgent first steps that need to be taken.
FAIRNESS IN ECONOMY: It is imperative to implement policies that will root out the precariousness and despondency created by the economic crisis. With the aim of increasing employment and ensuring fair distribution of wealth a “Fair Distribution Program” that will eradicate unemployment and poverty is the biggest social need. Budgetary resources should be mobilized to achieve the economic welfare of the people rather than palaces, wars and cronies. Basic needs such as electricity, natural gas, water and internet should be provided free of charge as part of a “Social Rights Program” which should be extended to those in need. Solving the problems of victims of Delayed Pension Age, victims of student debt and teachers who have not been appointed are the urgent needs of society. Improving the living conditions of pensioners, relieving the debt of farmers accrued due to wrongful policies, supporting tradespeople whose grievances have been tremendously aggravated during the pandemic are some of the first steps that need to be taken. It is also imperative to implement policies to eradicate women’s poverty and to ensure their active participation in the workforce. Unionization, collective bargaining and the right to strike must also be ensured in line with universal standards.
MERIT IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Public administration should not be the domain of recruitment for cronies under the monopoly of the ruling bloc. Grievances of those expelled from public duty due to political motives and decree-laws should be redressed, all sorts of discrimination in public recruitment and appointments should be stopped and merit should be made the only basis.
RESPECT FOR NATURE: State of emergency must be announced in the face of the climate crisis. Projects (chief among them Kanal Istanbul) that cause rampant exploitation of nature and the environment, damage forests, agricultural areas and rivers for profit, that upset the ecological balance should be stopped. Energy, transportation, urbanization and agriculture-related policies should be based on a nature rights-focused approach. Every living being’s right to survival within a healthy ecosystem should be ensured through effective policymaking. Forest fires, floods can only be stopped thus.
FREEDOM FOR YOUTH: The life preferences of the young should be respected, they should be able to express themselves and live freely. To ensure this, all barriers in economic, social and political domains should be eradicated with a special focus on education and culture. Shortcomings of the educational system must be addressed and improved. For a free and safe life, these are indispensable. Young people should also be supported economically, they should be included in administration in every field, which will help creative and progressive ideas to hold sway in society.
A DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTION: A civilian, libertarian and new constitution, a social contract in the true sense of the word will be the harbinger of a new beginning and the crowning achievement of democratization in Turkey. This constitution should be based on equal citizenship with respect towards different cultures, identities, faiths and native languages, ways of life and a secular way of life. Drafting of the constitution should include all segments of the society and should be executed with a method that is based on democratic participation and social negotiation.
A CALL FOR DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE AND PEACE…
In light of these principles, we share with the public how we view the new period and the kind of administrative approach we would like to see.
The primary objective and commitment of HDP in light of these transitional period principles are strong democracy, a justice system that is up to universal standards, and lasting social peace. By turning democracy and peace into a strategic goal and a program we can achieve a democratic and social republic.
We emphasize that we as HDP stand ready to talk to and negotiate with all social parties and political actors who are in favor of implementing principles cited above, to walk together with them and we remain ready for joint struggle and administration.
This is our call to all institutions, organizations and parties that care about Turkey’s bright future, as well as individual citizens. Let us assume responsibility altogether. Instead of personal calculations and partisan pragmatism let us make sure that common sense and building together are our guiding principles. Peoples of Turkey are not obliged to policies and administrations that do not produce solutions, that move away from common sense, nor to discrimination, hate speech and social polarization.
All Together for Democracy
All Together for Justice
All Together for Peace
Pervin Buldan – Mithat Sancar
Ankara, 27 September 2021