HDP launches its election campaign under the banner of the Green Left Party

A summary by HDP Europe

The Green Left Party (Yeşil Sol Parti) has published its election manifesto in which the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will contest the elections under its banner. The Green Left Party is a member party of the HDP that was founded in November 2012.

The Green Left Party on Thursday released its election manifesto titled “We Are Here, We Will Change [Turkey] Together” and vowed to replace the country’s current presidential system of governance with a democratic system that includes a pluralist parliament with broad powers, an effective separation of powers and a working system of checks and balances.

“We are coming to build a strong local democracy in which the separation of powers expands towards the local, the delegation of authority and resources to local governments is secured, [and] central authority over local governments is ended,” the Green Left Party said in the manifesto.

Co-Spokepersons of the Green Left Party Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and İbrahim Akın and the co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar gave speeches in the event in capital Ankara which other representatives in the Labour and Peace Alliance attended.

In a bid to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections, HDP co-Chair Mithat Sancar announced last week that the HDP would run in the elections under the banner of the Green Left Party (Yeşil Sol Parti), saying the experience with the closure of the parties from the tradition of the HDP in the past would have led to this solution.

At the Green Left Party election programme event, HDP Co-Chair Mithat Sancar said “Together we will bring change” and added: “We did not bow down to oppression and this became a problem for them. We walked this road without bowing and here we are. Yes, we learned to avoid their conspiracies and tricks. We inherited the accumulation of the tradition of struggle. We opened these roads, we walked all along and here we are. We, the Kurds, are here for a democratic solution to the problem of war, against the policies of refusal and denial. We are here for peace against hatred and enmity. We will change things together! We are here to defend life against death. We will change things together. We are here to establish local democracy, against centralized domination, for equal and free citizenship. We are here to pave the way for a democratic republic based on democracy. Together we will change things. We are here to grow and spread courage against fear.”

HDP Co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar

“We will paint the polls green first, then the parliament,” HDP Co-chair Pervin Buldan said in her speech and continued “We come to build a strong democracy. They put a thousand and one obstacles on the HDP’s path, installed all kinds of tools for oppression, but they failed. We come for change, together with our allies.”

“We started the great march for democracy on 7 June (2015), we will crown it with a great victory on 14 May. We are stronger than them,” Pervin Buldan said.

The HDP had won 13.12 percent of the vote in the highly consequential elections on 7 June 2015, ending the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 15-year supermajority in parliament. However, a summer of instability followed the opposition’s failure to form a government, and the AKP recovered its losses in the repeat elections in November.

HDP’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and the former mayor of southeastern Diyarbakır (Amed), Selçuk Mızraklı, sent a message to the event from prison, congratulating the parties.

“Those marginalised from society can partake in how the country is governed and resolve their issues only with a strong Green Left in parliament,” the jailed politicians said in their message. “We invite the youth, women, workers, the unemployed, farmers, artisans, pensioners, Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Circassians, Bosniacs, Sunnis, Alevis, all of Turkey to come together under the same tree’s colours in the Green Left Party.”

Green Left Co-spokespersons İbrahim Akın and Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar then read the manifesto, which had a heavy emphasis on women’s rights and workers’ unions as well as ecology and Kurdish rights.

Green Left Co-spokesperson Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar said: “We are ready to write a new democratic constitution in accordance with Turkey’s multi-identity, multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual structure, the constitution of the society together with democratic participation and social negotiation.”

Green Left Co-spokesperson Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar

Green Left co-spokesperson İbrahim Akın, stressed that they are a democratic alterntaive that describes itself as the “3rd way”, beyond status quo and authoritarianism, which is “to build a Turkey in which the peoples of Turkey will live in peace on the basis of equal and common citizens. We will make the second century of the Republic a democratic century in which fundamental rights and freedoms will be fully utilised and democracy will encompass the whole of society.

Green Left co-spokesperson İbrahim Akın

The party describes in its manifesto that it wants to solve the housing crisis, which has been worsened by the currency crisis and inflation in Turkey, and make Turkey a signatory to the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women again.

The program also emphasises independent and multicultural arts, and the protection of the natural environment.

Cross-border operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as the wider hostile foreign policy espoused by the current government are also among the changes the party seeks. They call for Turkey’s withdrawal from Iraq and Syria, as well as a solution to the Kurdish issue based on negotiation and dialogue.

Other pledges by the party include prison reform, and a judiciary free from government intervention.