Deputy Co-chair: Defending the HDP means, defending millions of people

In an interview with the newspaper Yeni Özgürpolitika, the deputy co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Özlem Gündüz, says: “We are aware that by defending the HDP we are defending not just a party, but a people and a society. We represent millions of people and, perhaps more importantly, we are the address of millions of hopes.”

The following are excerpts from the interview Masif Haskif conducted with Özlem Gündüz.

HDP’s 5th Congress was very important and meaningful for us despite the Kobani and closure cases against our party. We had to respond with a magnificent congress to those who wanted to silence our voices in such a process, to those who wanted to push us out of the democratic political scene, and so it was. Erdogan once said, referring to us, “These people have no strength left to hold rallies”. The whole country witnessed that day who had the strength and who did not. 

The truth is that if the oppression against us had been applied to any establishment party, that party would have already become a signboard party. Because they approach us with an open enemy law. But our congress showed that the oppression does not deter us, on the contrary, it ignites hope and resistance in us. We carry the strong honor of being right. In this sense, our congress was a powerful building congress. Thousands of citizens from every faith and people who came there said “We are the solution, we have a promise!“. 

In our opinion, the clearest message given at the congress was the power of the people. Thousands of people who had a voice, who had the power to find solutions, gave the message “We are here, we are strong” in Ankara. The biggest response to the closure case was our congress. The peoples of Turkey gave the message that “The closure case is null and void”. This is what we were saying when we said you cannot shut down the HDP, is it possible to shut down a people, an idea? 

Defending our party, which is the common voice and struggle ground of the majority that has been marginalized, rendered invisible, oppressed and pushed to the margins of life in this country for centuries, is also defending society. Attempts to shut down our party, which is based on such a ground of social legitimacy, is in fact an attempt to silence the common front of the oppressed and thus the society. In this respect, our peoples, who united around our congress and showed strong ownership, again clearly declared their will “we are here and we are not going anywhere”. At the big conference we held before our congress, we took important decisions on the solution of all the structural crises Turkey is going through. From women’s rights to ecology, from youth to poverty and unemployment, from the Kurdish people to the struggle for equality and freedom of all oppressed social segments, we tried to determine the solution of all structural problem areas on the basis of a common democratic alliance and with a third way strategy. In this context, our party has once again revealed that it is the building force of a new life policy, not just being stuck in an opposition plane, and has made this a strategic program. In the September 27th Declaration, we outlined our call for a common struggle for all opposition parties and social opposition dynamics. Our congress motto “We are the solution, we have a say” has emerged as an expression of our confidence and determination in ourselves and our tradition of struggle.  In this context, we promise that we will grow the democracy alliance and put our conference decisions into practice. 

Turkey is experiencing multiple economic, social and political crises. The root cause of these crises is the AKP-MHP alliance. This alliance has dragged society into multiple crises due to its wrong policies. The main concern of this alliance is not to solve the crisis, but to manage it. For this, it continues to use various perception games and political engineering. With these perception games and engineering, when it draws the attention of the society from multiple crises to a militarist line, it thinks about the possibility of early or raid elections. In other words, planning for early or raid elections is a situation that the government is always on the lookout for. For example, if it had succeeded in its operation against Southern Kurdistan and generated a nationalist wave inside the country, it could have gone to the polls. But it failed in this plan. However, it will continue to try and there is a possibility that it will hold a snap election when it has established the perceptions it wants and when it thinks it can create a political atmosphere to win the election. 

We, like the main opposition, do not turn the early elections into a daisy-chain, we continue to read the process by analysing what the ruling bloc is aiming for and its dirty style of politics, and we continue to organise ourselves to be ready for elections at any moment. We are carrying out our work with the goal of democratising Turkey, not just targeting elections.” 

Source: Yeni Özgürpolitika

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