The 5th Ordinary Congress of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was held under the slogan “We are the solution, we have a promise!” in Ankara on 3 July, to elect the co-chairs and central party officials with more than a hundred international guests and thousands of participants. The congress was attended by tens of thousands of people. The participation of international guests was very large, as at the last Congress.
The congress hall was decorated with banners that read “Democracy alliance will win”, “Free press cannot be silenced”, “Peace and resolution, not war and isolation”, “Not a monistic regime but a democratic republic”, “Democratic resolution of the Kurdish question”, “Not hunger and poverty but equal distribution” and “We will not give up on Istanbul Convention”.
Speeches of HDP Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar
At the beginning of the congress, HDP Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar have given speeches.
Pervin Buldan, for her part, said HDP will not cooperate with the opposition parties if their sole aim is to win the next elections.
“Upcoming elections will not be about selecting the president or prime minister. It will be about building a new democratic and egalitarian order in Turkey. The HDP is the main driving force behind these elections and the process going forward.”
“HDP will not be a bridge in any political calculation made just to cross the river. We say, ‘There is another way’,” she said.
“That way is the third way that HDP resolutely defends. And this is the democratic alliance that we will move forward with all the democratic forces and which we call Turkey’s democracy alliance,” Buldan stated.
For this, it is vital to bring political and social representation to the parliament with the widest participation, for the construction of a strong democracy and for the conclusion of a new rights-based social contract, she said.
“First of all, we will make a pluralist, democratic constitution that guarantees the rights of all peoples, identities, equal citizenship, equality and freedom of women, together with the alliance of democracy,” she added.
“We have not knelt in front of anybody. We have never bowed to anyone and we promise you in your presence that we will never bow to anyone from this time forward. (…) The Middle East and Syria will not be shaped by your hostility against Kurds, but by the will of the Kurdish people in favor of co-existence, and through the democratic alliances it forms with the peoples it lives side by side.”
Mithat Sancar said the following: “It frightens and worries them, the fact that we are the strongest alternative to their authoritarian regime. That’s why they attack us with all their strength. They think they’re going to destroy us. But they will never succeed.”
“We warn the AKP government; do not play games on the isolation of A. Öcalan, do not use such a sensitive issue for your power goals. Do not speak on behalf of İmralı, do not mislead the public or create false agendas. Let the public know what Öcalan thinks.”
“Our stance on the presidential election is clear. We are open to negotiations and the idea of a joint candidate, in case of transparent negotiations in front of the public,” he said in his opening remarks.
The participation of international guests was very large, as at the last Congress. More than a hundred international guests came from France, Germany, Switzerland, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco, Sweden, Lebanon, Greece, the Basque Country, Egypt, Italy, Catalonia, Denmark, Norway, England, Scotland, Spain, Kuwait, Algeria, Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland and Sweden to participate in the Congress. The congress also hosted The Left (GUE/NGL) in the European Parliament Co-President Martin Schirdewan, European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group Member Thijs Reuten, UEL Group chair in the PA of the Council of Europe Georgios Katrougalos, The Lebanese Communist Party General Secretary Hanna Garib and The President of the European Free Alliance (EFA) Lorena Lopez de Lacalle as guest speakers.
For the HDP Congress, there were also four different video messages from Ireland, Australia, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. “I send you solidarity from the republicans of Ireland. Know that we will always stand with you in the name of democracy, equality and justice,” said the Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald from Ireland in her message to the HDP congress.
Following the election held at the end of the congress, Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar were re-elected unanimously as the party’s co-chairs along with a new Party Assembly.
Resistance Messages from Prison for Congress
A letter co-written by the jailed former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and his cell mate, the removed mayor of Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed), were read out in the Fifth Congress of the HDP on 3 July.
The letter of Selahattin Demirtaş and Selçuk Mızraklı was read:“We salute the chairs of the congress, all participants, and our very dear people with utmost sincerity. The Peoples’ Democratic Party who managed to stand tall despite all lawless and unethical pressures will continue to move forward, and much more strongly in fact, along with this congress. Everyone who overlooked the will, the intellect, the conscience and the spirit of resistance of our people have been mistaken, and it will be no different in the future.
From our prison cell, we will continue to resonate the struggle carried by our people. We will never surrender, submit or be defeated. We’ll continue to resist till the reign of oppression is overcome, and peace and freedoms are restored. We are determined to prevail in this struggle, standing hand in hand with our party and our people. We congratulate all officials, and express our solidarity and best wishes of success for our friends to be elected. Hoping that this congress bears the best outcomes for all our people and our friends, we send you our heartfelt greetings.“
On behalf of the HDP Congress, former co-chair Figen Yüksedağ, former mayor of Diyarbakir Kışanak, former MP Gülser Yıldırım, former mayor and MP Edibe Şahin and former mayor of Dersim Nurhayat Altun, who are among the more than 4,000 HDP members still in prison, sent a joint message from prison wishing the congress success.
Leyla Güven: “Hope is worth more than victory”
Former HDP MP and DBP co-chair Sebahat Tuncel, Zeynep Karaman, Aynur Aşan, Zeynep Ölbeci, former HDP MPs Ayla Akat Ata, Pervin Oduncu, Meryem Adıbelli, Dilek Yağlı and Ayşe Yağcı wished the congress success and sent a message of resistance from prison: “Even though we are in prison, we continue our struggle of equality, freedom, democracy, peace and freedom of women. We believe that we are going to change this order of oppression through struggle. We will do it inside the jails and you will do it outside.”
Leyla Güven, who was arrested during her time as an HDP MP and co-chair of the DTK, sent the following message: “Let us continue our way until we reach a level where there is no poverty, oppression, tyranny or lawlessness…. “Hope is worth more than victory”, let us maintain hope.”
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